What is the biggest challenge in restoring waterbodies?
The main challenge is the mixing of sewage and grey water into the waterbody. We can convince people about removing encroachments, but we realised that many of the stormwater drains have illegal sewer connections, which is polluting the waterbody.
How can the neighbourhood pond or lake be restored?
The Corporation’s approach is efficient – they have roped in technical partners like EFI and other NGOs, which have been restoring waterbodies for years now. The technical partner has to team up with the organisation that is channelling the CSR funds to revive the neighbourhood waterbody. Then, we approach the Corporation, give them a proposal, prepare a detailed project report and then, the civic body will give us their stipulations. This time, the Corporation has focussed on community engagement, which is critical for restoration of waterbodies. It is not about awarding tenders to private parties, which does not really rope in the community for maintenance of the waterbody in the future.
How can the local community help save their neighbourhood waterbodies?
In many places, the local community – though they live next to the pond or lake – have no idea about it. EFI has been conducting lake walks, where we take interested people around the waterbodies, walk around the bunds and explain the importance of that waterbody and how it can enhance the eco-system. During the restoration work, we rope in the students from government schools, through wall painting and planting of native species on the bunds. Restoration of waterbody will improve the groundwater level and because of the local community engagement, the waterbody will not tun into a garbage dump. This way, the restoration will be sustainable.