The world is standing at the brink of facing great water scarcity. They say that the third world war will be fought for water. India especially faces the threat of facing the depletion of all major water resources.
However, there have been individuals and groups who are working to improve this situation. The Cantonment Board Ambala (CBA), an urban local body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, has been rejuvenating old water bodies.
Rejuvenation of old water bodies
Ambala, a city in Haryana, is a low-lying area. It lies between two rivers Ghaggar and Tangri, facing the problem of flooding and water-logging. In July 2010, the whole city of Ambala came to an absolute standstill after heavy rainfalls. Reports at that time suggested that many parts of the city, including the Ambala Cantt Railway Yard, were flooded with upto five feet of water.
On the other hand, Ambala, like many other cities and towns of the country is faced with low underground water levels. Over the years, major and minor stormwater drains of Ambala Cantonment have been widened and brick lined. This has led to rainwater draining out, ultimately leading to minimum groundwater recharge.
Under its initiative of ‘Smart Cantonment Initiative’, CBA has been rejuvenating old water bodies as a way to mitigate water logging/flooding as well as for water conservation and recharging the underground water levels.
Integrated wastewater management system
Varun Kalia, the CEO of CBA, while speaking with The Logical Indian said, “A comprehensive plan under the wastewater management scheme was worked out for the civil area.” The three phases of the plan were: In the first phase, 3.5 acres of dumping site was to be converted into a lake. In the second phase, an old water harvesting pond of the size of 8 acres, called Diggi in the local language, was rejuvenated. And in the third phase, wastewater of the Civil area was to be treated and released in Diggi lake after treatment.
Mr Kalia told The Logical Indian, “The phase I was completed in 2017 with the inauguration of CBA lake. The lake presently taps approximately 2 crore litres of rain and surface run-off water. With the rejuvenation of the 8-acres water harvesting pond and its conversion into a beautiful lake, phase II has been successfully completed.”
The entire team of CBA was extremely motivated with the successful inauguration of the CBA lake. This gave way to the planning and execution of the phase II rejuvenation work. Mr Kalia said, “The work for the phase II rejuvenation began with the study of the catchment area of the pond. We then designed a network of drains were laid out draining water from the untapped catchment area into the pond thereby increasing the total inlets of rainwater. A total of 8 inlets /outlets were provided. We worked for the drying up and the desilting of the pond, this started from the winters of 2016 and was completed before the monsoons of 2018. After this, the existing bund was widened with the help of de-silted mud to provide a wide enough passage for pedestrians and joggers. As the last step, the rainwater was tapped and the lake site was developed.”
Interestingly, not only has the lake been developed, but the site around the lake also has been given a facelift for making way for a beautiful park. “We have developed a walking plaza, along with the facility of a clay jogging track exclusively for health enthusiasts. Adequate Parking has been provisioned on site,” said Mr Kalia. The lake also has a small island in between which is connected by a concrete pavement. The teams on developing the island in future.
The team now looks forward to completing phase III and the construction work is already under progress.
The Logical Indian appreciates Mr Kalia and CBA. Such steps reassure the general public that the government is concerned about the environment and is taking steps for its conservation.