Puzhal lake hits dead storage, activists want maintenance done

Chennai: Dismal monsoon last time around meant Chennai would in all possibilities face a water crisis this summer. With water-level coming down thick and fast, many reservoirs had already been depleted.

Joining the list of those is the Red Hills lake or as it is famously known, Puzhal lake. To use any water that is left in the waterbody, Chennai Metrowater authorities have fixed pumps, to keep water flow going, at least for as long as it can to the Kilpauk overhead tank and subsequently residents who depend on the lake water.

“It is sad to see the lake hit dead storage so soon. It is only March-end and what will the city do for water?,” said a worried Aravind, from Surapet. “We cannot go on depleting ground water. Something needs to be done to store water efficiently,” he added.

The primary work of Puzhal lake is to store water received from Krishna River under the Telugu Ganga Project. Other waterbodies that receive water from the scheme are Cholavaram Lake and Poondi Reservoir.

According to officials of Metrowater, who denied to disclose their names, the lake has been maintained by the Water Resource Department (WRD) of the State. The department has been spending Rs 5 lakh every year to keep the lake in good condition.

Officials also added that the lake dried up so soon because of the 12 tmcft that is supposed to be received under the Krishna water supply scheme, not even one tmcft was received. Supply began in January and has been stopped this month.

Thus, until water is received or monsoon arrives, authorities stated the lake will post a barrer look. But for social activists, it is time for action. “The lake was built when the British ruled India in 1876. It was widened to hold 3,300 mcft in 1997 from the earlier count of 500 mcft. It is time authorities deepen the lake, carry out maintenance works and store as much water as possible when water does come. Also, this is the time for officials to find culprits who let sewage into the lake and penalise them accordingly. Positives can be taken from this,” said they.

Residents are of the same viewpoint as well and want authorities to get cracking with maintenance works this
summer.

Praveen Kumar S