Posted on November 10, 2020
CHANDIGARH: A decade ago, the Chandigarh Administration had adopted three-pronged
strategy–containing overgrowth of weeds; checking overpopulation of fish and banning religious functions at the lake–to save the pristine beauty of Chandigarh—Sukhna Lake now seems to have failed. In 2016, the Administration made another attempt to save the lake by supplying water through tubewells. Seven tubewells were identified for supplying of water to the Lake for 21 hours a day.
Misconceived plan could not see the light of the day as the data complied by the Central Groundwater Board of the Ministry of Water Resources shows that depletion in water level in Chandigarh is more (10-12 meters) in northern Sectors.
According to the report, the worst hit Sectors include 27, 10, 12, 21 and 31 where the water level has dropped by as much as 5-15 meters over the past seven years. The Bhakra MainLine was commissioned in 1983 and Chandigarh gets 29 cusecs of water; Mohali 5 cusecs, Panchkula 3 cusecs and Chandigarh mandir Contonment 2 cusecs of water. It led to closureof tubewells in the city.
It takes drop by drop to fill a jar. Working on this proverb, the Chandigarh Administration evolved a new plan to fill up the Sukhna Lake through sewage treatment water. It proposed to install sewage treatment plant (STP) to provide additional water resources to fill the man-made dying water body—Sukhna Lake. It proposed two MLD capacity sewage treatment plant to be built using MBR technology (membrane bioreactor) near village Kishangarh in Chandigarh that will fill Sukhna Lake. The STP will also solve the problem of sewage water entering the Sukhna forest area.
“The project is likely to be completed by next eight months. A tender has been floated for
construction of the STP, ” said a senior officer of UT Administration. The effluent from the STP at Kishangarh will be used for filling up Sukhna Lake and the latest membrance bioreactor (MBR) technology will be used for producing effluent of high quality, he said.
While the proposal to set up STP at Kishangarh was mooted in 2017, the project could not take off. In a series of directions related to preservation of Sukhna Lake, the High Court had directed the Administration to ensure that the average capacity of the lake is increased by at least about 100-150 hectares by one-time large scale de-silting (dredging) of the lake. It was also directed that the capacity once created should be maintained through regular dredging.
Apart from this, the authorities in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh were directed to lower
the storage capacity of the check dams to ensure regular flow of water into Sukhna Lake. The States of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are also directed that no waste water or sewage flows into the river from the villages i.e Kansal, Kaimbwala and Saketri.
The rain fed Sukhna Lake was created in 1958 by damning the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Sukhna Hills and was created as a gift to the citizens of Chandigarh for enjoyment of peace and tranquility.
As per statistics with administration, capacity of lake was 1074.4 hectare metres in 1958 which reduced to 513.28 hectare metres. The water spread area was 228.64 hectares in 1958, which declined to 148.28 hectare in 2005. And, the average depth of the man-made water body was 4.694 meter at embankment level in 1958 which declined to 3.484 meter in 2005.