CHENNAI: Buoyed by the success of restoring and beautifying four lakes in Chennai in the last two years, the Water Resources Department (WRD) has identified 75 lakes in the city and neighbouring Tiruvallur district that would be undertaken under the eco-park restoration project.
Officials said that the works, to be carried out in association with Environmentalist Foundation of India, is expected to start soon.
Before the pandemic-induced lockdown that brought all activities to a grinding halt, the WRD had commenced restoration of Paruthipattu, Ambattur, Korattur and Retteri lakes. The works were completed in the last two years and have been opened to the public.
Now, to coincide with the 75th year of Independence, the department has identified 75 tanks that would be spruced up using CSR funds. Most of the lakes are in Tiruvallur, and the remaining in Chennai, said the official, adding that the plan was to take them up in a phased manner.
“The works will be taken along the Outer Ring Road, which includes lakes in Poonamallee and Nazarathpet, and the Vellanur lake in the upstream of Puzhal and also the one near Cholavaram. We decided to initiate a massive clean-up on World Environment Day (June 5) along with 7,500 volunteers,” said EFI founder Arun Krishnamurthy.
After the initial cleaning, restoration work of these lakes will begin. “It will be phased out in such a way that at least a few of the lakes would be ready before the northeast monsoon,” he added.
Explaining the way in which restoration work was completed before, a senior WRD official said the team identified polluted lakes first. “In the initial phase, we cleared encroachments, desilted the waterbodies and strengthened their bunds. Then, the discharge of raw sewage from nearby residential areas was arrested. Later, footpaths were created, and saplings were planted around the lakes,” clarified the official.
Also, as part of the restoration work, the storm water drains have been linked to the waterbody so that the runoff flows into the lake.
One of the complaints that the public has raised is the poor maintenance of the eco-parks by the civic authorities.
“After the restoration works, we make sure that the public doesn’t dump garbage into them. There are other issues like footpaths being littered with waste and even antisocial activities within the park premises. We act on such complaints swiftly,” said the official.