How civil engineers lead lake rejuvenation in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka

Pollution, solid waste dumping, flooding and encroachment issue plagued Coimbatore’s Kurichi Lake and Bengaluru’s Mylsandra Lakes 

By Shivali Jainer, Shivani
Published: Monday 31 August 2020

This is the final in a three-part series of stories from impact workshop conducted by Centre for Science and Environment under the programme of School of Water and Waste

Pollution, solid waste-dumping and flooding: Kurichi Lake in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore was in dire need of rejuvenation when Karthik Ravichandran, a senior project engineer in sanitation-based CDD Society, stepped in to help the cause.

Ravichandran had attended Centre for Science and Environemnt’s (CSE) urban wetland management training in 2018 and another advanced lake management training in February 2019.

The 330-acre lake was polluted from sewage inflow, and was subjected to solid waste dumping and flooding. Its hydraulic structures were damaged. So the CDD Society, Bengaluru, prepared the rejuvenation plans for wastewater management, water management, hydraulic structures refurbishments and biodiversity enhancement.

The proposal included conversion of eight per cent lake area to wetlands and increase in green cover to 20 acres on bunds and bird islands. Place making and connecting people to the lake was planned by Oasis Designs Inc, a Delhi-based architect firm. The project is currently tendered out and the work yet to start.

The cost of the rejuvenation project is pegged at Rs 49 crore.

Similarly, Ragasamyutha, a civil engineer in the water and sanitation sector and a project engineer in CDD society, worked on the rejuvenation of Mylsandra Lakes in Bengaluru. The lake was among the four lakes part of rejuvenation plan by the Karnataka Forest Department. 

Ragasamyutha attended training on nature-based solutions in 2018 and advanced training on urban lake management in 2019 at CSE.

Mylasandra and Sunkanpalya lakes are two such lakes benefiting from this programme. These lakes, spread over 12 and 14 acres respectively, have been historically functioning as a twin lakes system, but have been subjected to widespread encroachment and sewage entry over the years.

The project tries to analyse the root cause of the issues and identify suitable solutions that would restore the health and ecosystem of the lakes.

Ravichandran and Ragasamyutha explained how they were able to go beyond technical solutions and include socio-economic aspect of lake management by involving all stakeholders, especially the local community, upon following the learnings of CSE trainings on urban lake management.

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