Pookode lake gets a new lease of life

Three-month-long restoration work completed

Published - August 31, 2021 09:22 pm IST - KALPETTA

The Pookode lake, the second largest freshwater lake in the State, after restoration.

The Pookode lake, the second largest freshwater lake in the State, after restoration.

The Pookode lake, the second largest freshwater lake in the State, has got a fresh lease of life after the restoration work that lasted nearly three months.

The lake, a major tourism destination in the district, is under the possession of the State Fisheries Department, and tourism activities at the destination are being operated by the Wayanad District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC).

A large part of the 5.172 hectares of the lake had turned into grassland because of soil erosion brought about by uncontrolled construction and farming activities taking place in areas around the lake for the past many decades.

The lake was dying mainly due to anthropogenic activities, eutrophication (a process by which waterbodies receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth), and accumulation of sediments owing to soil erosion.

However, the desilting works and removal of water plants and sediments have given a new lease of life to the lake. “We were able to recover more than 30% of water holding area of the lake,” V. Salim, DTPC Secretary-in-charge, told The Hindu . It took nearly three months to complete the restoration works, he added.

The works have been completed at a cost of ₹2.25 crore. Nearly 13,000 cubic metres of mud and other sediments were removed from the lake and deposited on the north-west shore, said P.M. Ratheesh Babu, Manager (Administration), DTPC. Springs had formed in the lake and the flow of water to the Thalippuzha, a tributary of the Kabani river, had also increased considerably after the works, he added.

The tender procedure for constructing a concrete retaining wall to prevent soil erosion in the area was in the final stage and the work would be completed at cost of ₹67.5 lakh, he said.

The authorities are planning to execute a project to give a facelift to the tourism destination at a cost of ₹6 crore in the coming months. The works such as landscaping, gardening, setting up of a pavement around the lake and a solar buggy ride, and construction of floating dock for boating, open air theatre, toilet complex, baby pool, ticket counter, and first-aid room would be completed under the project.

As many as 80 park benches would be mounted on the shores of the lake besides setting up a cafeteria and a cool bar for tourists. The work would be completed in a year, said Mr. Ratheesh.

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