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City lakes drying up,civic body says can’t help it

Despite new lakes being announced every year in its budget,the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has been found wanting when it comes to their upkeep. Mid-way through the summer,some of the major lakes in the city have already dried or are close to drying up.

Despite new lakes being announced every year in its budget,the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has been found wanting when it comes to their upkeep. Mid-way through the summer,some of the major lakes in the city have already dried or are close to drying up.

The water levels have gone down drastically in some of the bigger lakes,including Kankaria,Vastrapur and Lambha,while Chandola in Danilimbda has completely dried up. The source of water for almost all these lakes,including the eleven under the interlinking project,is storm water.

“Being a water-scarce state,there is acute shortage of drinking water,and developing a water source for lakes is next to impossible. Though certainly measures for cleaning weeds and de-silting of these lakes should be taken care of,there is no such plan that can help maintain water levels in these lakes,” said deputy municipal commissioner S K Langa.

The lakes,which were developed with the main objective of increasing ground water levels through percolation of rain water,do not seem to be serving their purpose. For instance,despite crossing the capacity water level during the monsoon at Asarwa lake,the level percolated and evaporated even before Diwali.

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Some officials passed the buck to the irrigation department by saying that maintaining water levels in these lakes is the department’s duty.

Some of the lakes are also at the receiving end due to faulty storm water connectivity. The lake at Motera is one such instance where rainwater does not reach the lake at all. Moreover,the tubewells installed at five larger lakes have failed to maintain water levels. These include lakes at Vastrapur,Naroda,Asarwaa,Kankaria and Ghodasar.

However,despite the existing sorry state of the lakes,almost every year creation of new lakes is announced in the AMC budget.

In 2005,the AMC had 44 lakes under its control. In the subsequent year,when AMC’s jurisdiction was extended,another 33 lakes were transferred from Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) to the AMC,taking the tally to 77.