Thiruvananthapuram: Work is in progress to restore Vellayani lake, the second largest freshwater lake in Kerala that supplies 20 million litres of water everyday to the public water supply system, to its glory. Situated about 9km from Thiruvananthapuram Central Rly Stn, the lake is around 1,853 acre, but due to encroachment, it has shrunk to a mere 428 acre.
The lake is a prime source of drinking water in the district and has a unique ecosystem featuring some of the rarest birds, fish and flora, said Abey George, Secretary of Swasthi Foundation which has spearheaded plans for rejuvenating the lake. In May, the process of de-weeding was started using mechanical weed harvesters. So far, one third area of the lake has been cleared of weeds and dredging will begin shortly, he said.
“The de-silting operations with the help of the Irrigation Dept will add a mean depth of 1.5 meters to the lake and increase its storage by nearly three times. After dredging, bio- and phyto-remediation will be implemented to improve the water quality, which has been adversely affected in recent times,” George added. He said the work is expected to finish in 150 days. Then, the State Tourism Dept will step in and promote the site as a tourism spot with activities like a walkway, aqua sports and fishing. A survey was conducted covering all aspects of the lake—existence, factors contributing to its deterioration, effects on local life, water quality, water table, biodiversity and fauna.