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Rejuvenation efforts on at Madurantakam lake after many decades


After many decades, Madurantakam lake, a large waterbody in Chengalpattu district, is being rejuvenated with an enhanced capacity to store water. Water from the lake is also likely to be used to cater to Chennai’s needs during drought.

Spread over nearly 1,058 hectares, the lake serves as a source of irrigation for an ‘ayacut’ area of 3,077 hectares, and feeds 30 tanks. However, it has silted up heavily as no major work to remove silt was taken up in the past several decades.

This caused inundation in the agricultural lands in the surrounding villages during rainy season as the lake’s storage capacity had decreased by 24%. Deepening and augmenting storage capacity of the lake was one of the proposals mooted by the Water Resources Department (WRD) a few years ago. This was to address multiple issues, including the need to bridge the gap between increasing water demand and inadequate sources, flooding and conveyance of silt to low-level areas.

Officials said nearly 10% of the ₹120 crore project had been completed so far. Work was in progress to repair the five weirs, which are structures to dispose excess water from the lake, and also build a spillway, a dam-like structure to allow floodwater in a controlled way when the lake is full.

The spillway would be built with 12 shutters to regulate water release and prevent waterlogging in agricultural lands in the foreshore area. “We plan to increase the height of the weirs by 0.5 metre to improve the lake’s storage capacity. The waterbody is also being de-silted to enhance the capacity from 530 million cubic feet to 791 mcft,” said an official.

Instead of conveying the silt excavated from the lake to other places, the WRD is using it to form a bund in the foreshore area. It would also be used to raise the height of the lands in the foreshore area that are at risk of submerging when the lake fills up. Residents of 38 surrounding villages would have better drinking water once the project is completed in two years. The lake would also be used as a buffer source for Chennai and water would be drawn during drought, officials added.

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