The Neelkanth Lake located in the Southwestern region of the Mehsana District in Gujarat is a large lake that is largely used for irrigation purposes. The lake situated adjacent to the highway is under constant threat of garbage disposal, and encroachment of the lake area as it had no proper boundary to it. Having its outlet to the Khari River, the survival of this lake is crucial to maintain the ecological balance of the region.
In an effort to revive the Neelkanth Lake back to its natural glory, a collaborative conservation effort was carried out with support from the Government of Gujarat, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and E.F.I.
Clearance of Invasive Weeds
Invasive weeds such as Prosopis juliflora and overgrown thorny shrubs that were found in abundance at the lake were removed using machinery. A total of 750 tonnes of invasive weeds were cleared from the lake.
Regulation of the Inlet
The inlet located at the southernmost tip of the lake brings the wastewater from the neighboring village. As there was no alternative diversion route or drainage facility available in the region, in-situ measures were taken to capture the sediments from entering the lake.
The path of sewage in the inlet route was deliberately stretched to increase the hydraulic retention time and with the intervention of tree islands in the way of wastewater was created. This longer path will now be able to create aeration in the water and maximum sediments along with plastic trash can be blocked before entering the waterbody.
Embankment Creation and Compaction
The bunds of the lake were found to be damaged or repaired at several points in the lake. Using the excess silt that was excavated along the boundary and the deweeded area, the bunds of the lake were created and strengthened to improve the water holding capacity of the lake.
Nesting Islands Formation
Nesting islands were created to enhance the biodiversity of the lake and provide a safe nesting site for local fauna. Native species of plants and trees will be planted on these islands.
Fencing of the Lake
The lake along its boundary shall be protected with the help of outer fencing to prevent further human intervention that could harm the lake.
The Neelkanth Lake which was once an abandoned lake today has a new story to tell. We thank our partners, local residents, and volunteers for strengthening our effort.