What We Do
Water bodies (tanks/ponds/ooranies) are an inherent part of the society in Indian culture and serve a variety of purposes. They have traditionally played an important role in recharging ground water, drinking water supply, irrigation, tourism/ culture etc., In Chennai metropolitan region there are around 280 water bodies. For Centuries, these water bodies played a vital role in ensuring water security to Chennai and surrounding areas.
Due to rapid urbanization and expansion, many of these water bodies have been degraded in many ways. There is an urgent need to revive these water bodies and rejuvenate their ecosystem thereby ensuring sustainable water security.
Greater City of Chennai has 4 reservoirs to cater to its drinking water needs. These reservoirs are primarily rain fed, and hence affected by the vagaries of monsoon. Two other important water sources – Telugu Ganga Project (Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh) and Veeranam Lake (Cauvery water) are also dependent on rainfall.
The severe water crisis that the city went through during 2002-2004 spurred the State Government and CMWSSB to look for ways to drought proof the city. Desalination was one such project that opened up the possibility of perennial source of water and the Board initiated efforts to leverage technology for converting seawater in to drinking water. Today Chennai city has two large-scale desalination plants (located at Nemmeli and Minjur) with a combined capacity of 200 MLD.
Given the growing need for water in the city, a large scale program – “Chennai Water Security Mission” under the leadership of Chennai Metro Water has been started to focus on Restoration of Water Bodies / Waterways, Water Conservation, and Waste Water Reuse to achieve sustainable water security in the city.
As a part of this mission, lakes will be identified for restoration with help of NGOs and other community organizations. Once the list of start up activities to be performed in the lakes are identified (each lake would have its own challenges to work through) and documented, the same will be taken up for action in a time bound manner with involvement from stakeholders (owner of the lake, NGOs, Residents, CMDA, CMWSSB, and COC). Our Action: Restoration and rejuvenation of the water bodies would include activities such as:
- Community based cleanup programmes for removal of garbage / trash in the water bodies.
- Removal of thorny bushes, creepers, weeds, etc from the lake bund and inside by employing machines.
- Desilting of water bodies and deepening the contour by using machinery.
- Fencing of bund area to prevent further dumping of garbage / trash.
- Digging of percolation pits and recharge wells inside the water bodies for improving conservation of water and ground water recharge.
- Putting up signages as part of the community outreach with information about the lakes/tanks and activities planned for restoration.