Restoring the Ponds of Chennai’s ‘Manali’

Ponds and tanks are vulnerable to the constantly changing land-use patterns in Chennai. These small structures can be spotted near temples, nestled within residential areas, or located amidst croplands.

Ponds contribute a higher percentage than lakes to the total number of freshwater bodies on Earth (source: Yadav and Goyal, 2022). They provide a variety of services such as aquifer recharge, carbon sequestration and reducing the effect of urban heat-islands. If these ponds are neglected, these water conserving and flood-control structures would no longer help mitigate Chennai’s water and ecological concerns.

According to a study undertaken by the Space Application Center of India, freshwater bodies account for 4.86% of India’s geographical area (approximately 231,195 freshwater bodies). Of this 4.86%, ponds and tanks make up 65.67% or 151,815 ponds/tanks (source: Yadav and Goyal, 2022). This number has been steadily declining across many parts of India due to the neglect and mis-management of ponds and the growth of invasive weeds over its surfaces.

E.F.I has undertaken the ecological restoration of many such ponds in Chennai, and its surrounding sub-urban and village areas.

Manali is an industrial and urban locality in Northern Chennai. Often mistakenly pronounced like the popular hill station Manali in Himachal Pradesh, Chennai’s Manali (மணலி) gets its name from being a coastal locality – ‘Manal’ (மணல்) in Tamil, meaning sand.

Currently, ecological restoration is underway for Manali’s Vella Kulam Pond and Kamarajapuram Pond has been successfully restored. These ponds are within 1.34km of each other.

Vella Kulam PondKamarajapuram Pond
Area0.4 acresArea0.28 acres
Bund dimensions15ft x 8ft (height x width)Bund dimensions15ft x 8ft (height x width)

Take a look at our restoration journey for Kamarajapuram Pond through the images below:

The pictures below give you an overview of the restoration processes at Vella Kulam Pond, which is currently in-progress.

We thank the Greater Chennai Corporation for their administrative support and Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd for funding this project.

Volunteer for Chennai & her environment with E.F.I.

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