Lakes play an important role in the ecosystem and biodiversity of areas. They also support agriculture and other industries by fulfilling its water as well as energy needs. However, with excess development and limited availability of the resource, the usability of lake water has reduced significantly owing to its contamination and pollution.
Pollution of water bodies such as lakes severely affects the life and biodiversity of the area. It may even lead to reduced life-span and cause illnesses and diseases. With an intent to prevent such scenarios, India Inc. through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have worked on the revival of such lakes. Some of the noteworthy lake rejuvenation CSR initiatives are as follows.
Restoration of Sembakkam Lake by Cognizant and Grundfos
Cognizant, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, and Grundfos, a global leader in advanced pump solutions and water technology, has announced funding support for the restoration of the Sembakkam Lake in Chennai.
The lake rejuvenation project is expected to be completed in 2021. Through the initiative, these companies will look into cleaning the inlets and outlets, improving the lake’s connectivity with upstream and downstream water bodies, building an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system, and constructing walkways and green buffer zones along the lake.
The project will help clear the lake of solid wastes, silt and invasive plant species, improve the lake’s storage capacity by 50%, enhance groundwater recharge and improve water quality. It will benefit over 10,000 households living around the lake and conserve the local biodiversity consisting of around 180 plant species (including 11 aquatic species) and more than 65 bird species. One of the goals of the project is to provide a natural recreational space to the local community and involve them in the maintenance of the water body.
For its execution, the two companies will collaborate with the India chapter of The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest conservation organisations, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and Chennai-based Care Earth Trust, a non-governmental organization that works in the area of biodiversity conservation.
In addition, after the COVID-19 situation improves, volunteers from Cognizant Outreach, Cognizant’s employee-led volunteering program, and Grundfos, together with project partners, will run a range of community engagement and awareness initiatives, expert talks, lake festivals and tree plantation drives ― to ensure the long-term impact of the restoration project.
Rejuvenation of Hebbagodi Lake by Biocon
Located off Hosur Road, near Electronics City in southeast Bengaluru, the Hebbagodi Lake is spread over 35 acres and has a perimeter of over 2 km. A few years ago, the lake was largely covered by weeds and garbage. Biocon Foundation, the CSR arm of Biocon Ltd. and Syngene International Ltd. worked on reviving the lake and handed it over to the community two years ago.
As a part of its efforts to ensure environmental sustainability, Biocon Foundation, with approvals from the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) and other government authorities, has brought back to life the dying 35-acre Hebbagodi Lake, leading to a significant improvement in the water quality and the return of flora and fauna.
For its revival, a natural and eco-friendly bioremediation process was implemented by the foundation, which involved dosing the lake with a blend of enzymes and microorganisms to rapidly digest organic pollutants. An in-house bioreactor was commissioned by Biocon Foundation to produce ~3,000 litres of bio-enzyme every day. Multiple energy efficient cascading aerators and submersible mixers were installed in the lake to enhance the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. Floating wetlands were also deployed for the continuous natural cleaning process.
The daily dosing of enzymes has helped improve the quality of the water with pH value maintained between 6.5 and 8.5. The Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels have improved from zero to 2.8 mg/L.
Revival of Kumudepalli Lake in Hosur by Ashok Leyland
Ashok Leyland took up the lake rejuvenation as part of its CSR project in December 2017. Within three months, the lake and its surrounding areas were transformed and will be an integral part of the local community and ecosystem. The vast expanse of 4.5 hectares of land area-water with a storage capacity of 60Lakh KL is now clean and self-sustaining. The lake stores water from the rains and PWD Irrigation Canal. It is used for irrigation and fishing. In this water-scarce area, the survival of this lake is essential for the local population.
With the objective of preserving the lake and surrounding areas from pollution and land encroachment, Ashok Leyland took up the challenge to make this area safe and beautiful for the Community. The lake will also serve as a reservoir for rainwater harvesting. Now, with requisite government permissions, the lake is free of weed and domestic waste. It has been de-silted and formation of the island is also complete. A cross-over bridge has been constructed and shore-side has been stone pitched. A new 400-metre pathway is now in place with three feet high steel fencing and physical barrier for the safety of school children using the lakeside pathway.