At a time when water level of the Sukhna Lake is approaching the danger mark, the local authorities continue to pump nearly 3,000 litres of water per hour from the lake to irrigate its 1.8-km-long green belt.
Newsline has learnt that five motors of 10 HP each draw water from the lake for the maintenance of its gardens. The practice has been on for the last several years and no alternative arrangement has been found so far despite recommendations by experts.
The lake’s green area is being irrigated for almost five to six hours a day due to harsh weather conditions these days. It means that water usage to the tune of 15,000 litre per day is being pumped from this rain-fed lake which is already struggling with its limited water inflow from the Shivalik hills.
The current water level of the lake has receded below 1,153 feet and anything below 1,151 level is enough to dry more than 70 per cent of the lake’s 3 square km area. Already several patches of dry bed can be located towards its corners.
Dr Suhas Khobragade of the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, said, “As per our rough estimate, 5 pc of the lake’s total water holding capacity (521 hectare metre) is drawn annually to upkeep its green area.”
According to him, while all hopes are pinned on the rainy season to re-fill the lake, there is no harm in finding alternative means to save its limited water capacity, considering that it is a rain-fed lake and in case of drought year, it faces severe water scarcity.
“In our report to the administration, we had recommended alternative ways like tertiary water line to irrigate the lake’s green belts,” he said.
When contacted, Chief Engineer S K Chadha said that the situation was not alarming at the lake and the rains would further push its water level. “There is a possibility of arranging irrigated water from alternative means and we will think about it after studying its economic viability,” he said.
However, S S Grewal, president of Society for Promotion and Conservation of Environment, said that water drawn from the lake for irrigation purpose would not matter much if enough efforts were made to channelise the water from the lake’s catchment area so its dependence upon rainfall alone could be reduced. “We need serious thinking in this direction,” he said.