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Restoration of Sembakkam lake work to start soon

For the past two and a half decades, residents of the area are demanding to restore and rejuvenate both Chitlapakkam lake and Sembakkam lake.

The long pending restoration work of Sembakkam lake, which finds its borders in Sembakkam, Chitlapakkam and Hasthinapuram, is finally set to begin.

The Care Earth Trust, which has been undertaking the restoration of Pallikarnai marsh for over 18 years, in association with Nature Conservancy India and the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (IITM) have proposed to restore the disappearing wetland by demonstrating science based solutions and bringing stake holders together.

The first meet with the community members regarding this was held recently. Jayshree Vencatesan, researcher and a member of Care Earth Trust said, “The idea is to combine science with community engagement. What I have always found missing while restoring wetlands is the failure to make use of robust science and that is exactly what we are going to do to this lake – using tested scientific solutions.”

For example, while desilting the lake belt can be extremely fragile and lot of parameters must be considered beginning with the soil profile, or you end up destroying the integrity of the belt. Secondly, the pattern of the kind of pollutants that come in must be studied. “We would also be taking care of adjacent plants, animals and other water bodies in the vicinity.”

For the past two and a half decades, residents of the area are demanding to restore and rejuvenate both Chitlapakkam lake and Sembakkam lake.

Discussing the issues, P.Viswanathan , convenor,  Chitlapakkam Residents Associations Coordination Committee said, “ The full extent of Sembakkam Lake, Chitlapakkam Lake and Selaiyur Lake as per the Public Works Department (PWD) details must be ensured before commencing the work. Also, flood mitigation plan for South Chennai estimated around `1,200 crore must put to work. The lake water could be used for drinking once the sewage is gotten rid off.”

The Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board is currently supplying only nine lakh litres per day to the Chitlapakkam town panchayat, which has a population of 37,906 as per 2011 census report. The real population as of now will be beyond 60,000.

As per Government norms the town Panchayat must supply 70 litres of water per day per person. TWAD supplies 9 lakh litres and if calculated as per 2011 census it is 23.74 litre per person per day and by the real population as of now beyond 60,000, it is 15 litres per person per day. Yet, Palar river water is supplied to Chitlapakkam residents, through taps only once in 15 days.

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