Wednesday, December 02, 2020


Water from sewage treatment plants saves the Sukhna Lake

Yadavindra S Rana | November 04, 2020 03:18 PM

CHANDIGARH:A decade ago, the Chandigarh Administration had adopted three-pronged
strategy –containing overgrowth of weeds; checking overpopulation of fish and banning
religious functions at the lake--to save the pristine beauty of Chandigarh—Sukhna Lake now
seems to have failed. In 2016, the Administration made another attempt to save the lake by
supplying water through tubewells. Seven tubewells were identified for supplying of water
to the Lake for 21 hours a day. Misconceived plan could not see the light of the day as the
data complied by the Central Groundwater Board of the Ministry of Water Resources shows
that depletion in water level in Chandigarh is more (10-12 meters) in northern Sectors.
According to the report, the worst hit Sectors include 27, 10, 12, 21 and 31 where the water
level has dropped by as much as 5-15 meters over the past seven years. The Bhakra Main
Line was commissioned in 1983 and Chandigarh gets 29 cusecs of water; Mohali 5 cusecs,
Panchkula 3 cusecs and Chandigarh mandir Contonment 2 cusecs of water. It led to closure
of tubewells in the city.
It takes drop by drop to fill a jar. Working on this proverb, the Chandigarh
Administration evolved a new plan to fill up the Sukhna Lake through sewage treatment
water. It proposed to install sewage treatment plant (STP) to provide additional water resources
to fill the man-made dying water body—Sukhna Lake. It proposed two MLD capacity sewage
treatment plant to be built using MBR technology (membrane bioreactor) near village Kishangarh in
Chandigarh that will fill Sukhna Lake. The STP will also solve the problem of sewage water entering
the Sukhna forest area.
“The project is likely to be completed by next eight months. A tender has been floated for
construction of the STP, ” said a senior officer of UT Administration. The effluent from the STP at
Kishangarh will be used for filling up Sukhna Lake and the latest membrance bioreactor (MBR)
technology will be used for producing effluent of high quality, he said.
While the proposal to set up STP at Kishangarh was mooted in 2017, the project could not
take off. In a series of directions related to preservation of Sukhna Lake, the High Court had directed
the Administration to ensure that the average capacity of the lake is increased by at least about 100-
150 hectares by one-time large scale de-silting (dredging) of the lake. It was also directed that the
capacity once created should be maintained through regular dredging.
Apart from this, the authorities in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh were directed to lower
the storage capacity of the check dams to ensure regular flow of water into Sukhna Lake.  The States
of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are also directed that no waste water or sewage flows into the
river from the villages i.e Kansal, Kaimbwala and Saketri.
The rain fed Sukhna Lake was created in 1958 by damning the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal
stream coming down from the Sukhna Hills and was created as a gift to the citizens of Chandigarh for
enjoyment of peace and tranquility.
As per statistics with administration, capacity of lake was 1074.4 hectare metres in 1958
which reduced to 513.28 hectare metres. The water spread area was 228.64 hectares in 1958, which
declined to 148.28 hectare in 2005. And, the average depth of the man-made water body was 4.694
meter at embankment level in 1958 which declined to 3.484 meter in 2005.

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