Vellalore Lake

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Vellalore Lake

A survey of lakes by KKPA revealed that Vellalore Lake, lying on the outskirts of the city, had not received water for over 17 years, due to local apathy, encroachment on the canal bund, poor maintenance of the canals and sluices, and lack of unity and leadership from the local populace. They did not realize that Vellalore Lake, when full, could recharge underground water to 10 sq. km of the surrounding area, and wells and bore wells were dependent on this lake. It was an immensely challenging task, as the whole 85.99-acre lake area was covered with the thorny tree Prosopis Juliflora, and other unwanted shrubs, and the lake bed was bone dry. With no water in the lake for a prolonged period the water table in the area reduced drastically to below 750 feet and the once flourishing agricultural landscape slowly converted into housing sites. KKPA’s appeal through social media attracted volunteers from all around Coimbatore and a few from the local area also.

As a first step KKPA volunteers removed the invasive shrubs, thorny bushes and trees on the lake bed first manually and later with the use of JCB’s funded by Cameron, IT Company under their CSR program. Despite these measures the Vellalore Lake did not fill up, after the rains. Investigations revealed that the 6.50 kms Rajavaikkal (Irrigation canal), which distributed surplus water from Kuniyamuthur lake to Vellalore lake, was heavily silted up with weeds, invasive shrubs & domestic garbage and this prevented the smooth flow of water downstream. KKPA volunteers cleaned this canal both manually and with the use of heavy machinery, funded by well-meaning citizens.

The 3 sluice gates of an anaicut upstream which diverted water to the Vellalore lake was chocked up to a depth of 12 feet with garbage, debris, plastic waste and sewage. Also, the rains carried down the waste from upstream and deposited this at the sluice gates. College students, members of the general public and KKPA volunteers joined together, worked on 3 Sundays and removed manually nearly 6 tonnes of waste, muck, plastic waste, sludge and sewage and made the sluice gates functional again.

Sustained efforts of KKPA volunteers was rewarded by Mother Nature as with the showers of the 2018 SW Monsoon the Vellalore Lake filled to its capacity of 15.00 Million cubic feet, and overflowed, after a gap of 17 years. This lake has overflowed time and again from 2019 to 2021. This work is a testimony of what can be achieved by NGO’s with the active support and assistance of the Government.