Sewage inflow into lakes remains a major challenge

Activists blame the weir for low storage at Korattur lake

The chain of waterbodies in western parts of the city are full after the recent heavy rain. But sewage pollution remains a major challenge in developing them into drinking water sources.

The lakes in Ambattur, Korattur, and Madhavaram Retteri are interlinked and continue to be a major source for recharging groundwater. Efforts are on to restore the lakes and develop them into drinking water sources.

Madhavaram Retteri was among the waterbodies chosen for pilot project to build a modular water treatment plant to be used as one of the buffer sources for Chennai’s growing water needs.

Officials of the Water Resources Department (WRD) said the three waterbodies had a combined storage capacity of 500 million cubic feet. Water from Retteri was used for city supply during drought and sewage pollution had reduced here compared to other lakes.

Members of the Korattur Aeri Padukappu Makkal Iyakkam (KAPMI) said Korattur lake was unable to store sufficient quantity of water.

Its secretary S. Sekaran said copious inflow into Korattur lake drained through the weir into surplus course as the lake bed and weir are at same elevation.

“We made representations to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin during his recent visit about the improvements needed in the lake. It has lost its water holding capacity and weir’s height must be increased. The lake must be deepened for better storage,” he said.

Narrow inlet

Some of the other demands of KAPMI were removal of encroachments and prevention of sewage pollution. The inlet channel is narrow and floodwater spills over on to the neighbouring areas instead of draining into the lake, Mr. Sekaran said.

Although rejuvenation project was taken up in Ambattur lake, it continued to face issues of sewage pollution from surrounding areas like Ayapakkam and Tirumullaivoyal.

The major lakes often get covered with thick layer of vegetation that indicates sewage inflow, the residents said.

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