The city continues to grow in population and magnitude abandoning the renowned beauties of our water bodies. One such water body adjoining the Outer Ring Road and Vandalur-Oragadam state highway is the Vandalur lake. It is situated in the south western part of the metropolitan city of Chennai and spreads across 76 acres.
Once a pristine beauty is now a squalid land. This lake though mutated into a litter box due to human interference is undeniably a beautiful expanse discovered in the midst of hustle.
Little did we know that even our water bodies are part of human abuse. The lake is extensively exposed to the growth of invasive weeds, eutrophication, open defecation, and leachate due to dumping of waste. Also, the nutrient loading is certainly a threatening fact to our waterways which can result in detrimental effects on the biological stability of the ecosystem.
A collaborative effort between PWD and AstraZeneca has facilitated E.F.I in the refurbishment efforts of a disowned water body for the nature to bounce back with its at most resources.
Anthropogenic activities, the dearth of proper management and unplanned population stress in the region obliterated the natural ecosystem by affecting the biological population and their interaction with the water body.
The uniqueness of this water body is that it connects to the Adyar river and is being restored based on a foreseeable future. The reasons why we are scientifically restoring the most essential form of life are put forth to enlighten every individual and to consciously minimize our ecological footprint
1. Water percolation: Due to urbanization, this area’s population has increased substantially depleting its ground water levels. Restoring and increasing the water holding capacity of the lake would make this a prime water recharging structure.
2. Flood resilience: As the area is heavily populated, proper construction of bunds and increased water holding capacity would make the nearby area a flood resilient zone.
3. Water flow: Due to regulation of inlet and outlet channel the water flow is unobstructed which prevents flooding on both sides of the channel.
4. Dumping of Solid waste: Constructing and strengthening of bunds on off shore sides prevent further encroachments and dumping waste into the lake area.
5.Temperature regulation: Fresh water available in the lake could regulate the local temperature of the region.
6. Green cover: Plantation along the newly constructed bunds could increase the green cover of the lake. Further, the flora and fauna of the region would certainly see an increase in number.
During 2015 Chennai floods, the Outer ring road was completely submerged leading to misery. This is when the conservation efforts towards our water bodies act as a silver lining prior to such distress.
Protection and cleaning up of environment were the essence of Vedic culture. But, in today’s context Environment conservation and sustainable practices has become a needle in a haystack. Proper dynamics of the restoration process has been implemented to create a Climate-resilient ecosystem by mitigating water crisis and increasing the carrying capacity of the lake.
“Every little change we make adds up to a big difference”. Our efforts in rejuvenating this water body indeed improves the micro climatic condition of the atmosphere and create a nexus towards our sustainable living.
We thank the Public works department for the administrative support and AstraZeneca for partly funding our restoration efforts and the residents of Vandalur who volunteered with us.