Lake loses 177 acres to encroachments
From 214 acres in 1972, it is now 36 acres; Corporation plans floating gardens
The Villivakkam lake has lost 177 acres to encroachments, according to a study. A number of houses, commercial buildings and industries have been developed in 83% of the lake area, reducing the waterbody to 36.34 acres. In 1972, the lake had an area of 214 acres.
The Chennai Corporation will develop floating gardens in the Villivakkam lake as part of the eco-restoration of the waterbody.
According to a study, a number of houses, commercial buildings and industries have been developed in 83% of the lake area, reducing the waterbody to 36.34 acres. In 1972, the lake had an area of 214 acres.
The existing boundaries of the lake include Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Padi Railway Station on the west, residential areas on the north, Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road on the south and SIDCO Nagar Industrial Estate on the east.
“Most of the lake has been lost. The remaining part is polluted because of letting of industrial effluents. We will develop a floating raft of phytoremediation plants in the lake. The roots will absorb pollutants from the water. The plants will release the pollutants as harmless gases in the atmosphere, cleaning the waterbody,” said an official.
In addition to encroachments by private agencies, Chennai Metrowater is using 11.5 acres of the lake for operating its sewer network. The Corporation will have just 24.84 acres for the ecorestoration project, said an official.
The study by the Corporation has pointed to dumping of construction debris in the lake, unauthorised settlements, railway line, high tension line and weed growth as challenges to eco-restoration.
Most of the encroachments are along the western and southern side of the lake, an official said.
Open air theatre planned
After the eco-restoration, the lake will have an open air theatre, kids play area, Aavin parlour, parking lot, basketball court, immersed aerator and a new road parallel to the Padi railway line.
Currently, the excess water from the lake is being released through the southern portion to Otteri Nullah. After eco-restoration, sensors will be installed in the area, monitoring pollution levels. The sensors will be powered by solar energy. The data will be sent to the command and control centre of the Chennai Corporation.
“The lake does not have stormwater drain inlets. We will connect the existing stormwater drains to the lake,” said an official.
New lease of life: A view of the Villivakkam lake surrounded by encroachments, which extends up to the Padi railway station.