What started as a voluntary effort of residents to spruce up Vengaivasal Periyaeri near Medavakkam last year has now turned into a government-funded eco-restoration project. The lake is among three waterbodies that will soon be rejuvenated on the lines of Paruthipattu lake near Avadi.
The Water Resources Department will take up eco-restoration of Vengaivasal Periyaeri, Perumbakkam and Adambakkam by March at a cost of ₹12 crore.
A government order recently sanctioned the funds under the Environment Protection and Renewable Energy Development Fund of Environment and Forests Department. Residents of Vengaivasal said they constructed a recharge well in the lake to tackle water scarcity last summer through crowd-funding. The well in the lake continues to supply nearly 3-4 lakh litres of water. Welcoming the project, residents said that it would improve the lake’s storage capacity and also serve as a recreational space. T.Senthil Kumar, a resident of Santhosapuram, Vengaivasal, said, “We crowd-sourced funds of nearly ₹30 lakh to construct the recharge well and also desilted another lake, Chitteri. We continue to volunteer to collect trash from the lake that is a haven for birds.”
The project would help recharge the groundwater table and reduce water shortage in the locality. “The department must also take action to prevent sewage being released from areas like Madambakkam into Chitteri through inlet channels. A sewage treatment plant must be constructed as assured by officials earlier,” he demanded.
Residents also wanted the district administration to regulate timing of groundwater extraction from agricultural wells in Vengaivasal to prevent threat of plummeting water table depletion of groundwater.
Perumbakkam lake, spread over 560 acres, is already being developed as a drinking water source by Chennai Metrowater. It will be beautified at a cost of ₹4.8 crore through the project.
On the desilting of the Adambakkam lake, C.R. Balaji, a resident of Mandaveli, said sewage discharge through stormwater drains and other sources must be arrested. Nearly ₹4 crore will be spent on restoration of Adambakkam and Vengaivasal lakes. This would include desilting, improving storage capacity by a minimum of 10%, reconstruction of damaged weirs and sluices, creating children’s play area and building of mounds in the lakes for bird nesting space. Besides fencing the foreshore area and laying footpaths, saplings would be planted on the bund. Measures are being taken to prevent sewage pollution in the lakes, said officials of the WRD.