Desilting of the 90 year old Otteri Lake in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu is currently underway. The move will deepen the lake by around four feet, thus increasing its holding capacity from 113.83 MLD (million litres per day) to 140.83 MLD. At the same time, it would provide additional fertile soil for agricultural purposes.
In addition, it would help in recharging ground water and farm and domestic wells in the vicinity. Significantly, it would meet the increasing demands of Vellore municipality and mitigate flooding.
The Otteri Lake receives rainfall run-off from surrounding hills and supplies water to Vellore municipalities. Owing to shortage of rainfall, its depth at present is merely six feet.
The desilting project also includes development of walkways, green spaces, view decks, parks (for rides, skating grounds, etc) and providing ornamental lighting to the park footpaths that are bound to attract more visitors.
These observations were made by a Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) team that visited the blocks of Valathur, Vaniyambadi and Walajah in Vellore district between 24th and 26th July, 2019.
The team comprised: Central Nodal Officer (CNO) – Mr. P.K Abdul Kareem, Advisor, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Block Nodal Officer (BNO) – Mr. S.K Rai, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs; and Technical Officer (TO) – Mr, Rohit Verma, Engineer, WAPCOS, Ministry of Jal Shakti/Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Their mission was to assess the water conservation measures of the district, and initiate suitable action to put in place measures to enhance water conservation and rainwater harvesting; rejuvenate traditional ponds and water bodies; ensure reuse of borewell recharge structures; and promote watershed development and intensive afforestation.
Meanwhile, the Technical Officer, Mr. Rohit Verma accompanied by other state officials visited Ulli panchayat in Valator Firka of Gudiyattam block on 25th July.
While inspecting various water conservation structures such as check dams, recharge wells and staggered trenches situated across the Panchayat, he came across an old man who happened to be a retired army personnel, ploughing his field, and watching the team keenly. During a conversation, the army man informed how interventions in water conservation have helped him immensely; in specific his borewell now had adequate water for his needs.
Others in their fields expressed similar sentiments such as a check dam and other such structures which have contributed to storing water.