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Water Body Restoration in Chennai – A Smart City Initiative

The Greater Chennai Corporation along with Chennai Smart City Limited is has currently created the Chennai Water Restoration Framework that aims at creating a robust framework for restorations of water bodies within the Greater Chennai Corporation area.

About the Framework

The Framework has clear roles and responsibilities for:

Ownership
For each water body the ownership will be clearly assigned. In case of conflict between departments, the same will be resolved at the earliest. If a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for water body restoration is available immediately with departments those projects will be prioritized. The responsibility for marking the boundary shall be vestedwater1 Water Body Restoration in Chennai - A Smart City Initiative with the concerned department.

Funding
The size of water bodies varies from a few hundred square metres to hundreds of hectares. Further, the extent of degradation and the action plan required to restore water bodies are specific to each one. The devastating floods that deluged the city of Chennai in 2015 followed by the severe drought in 2017 have brought together the collective common conscience of the public to contribute to the restoration and rejuvenation of water bodies. In addition to Government funds wherever available, CSR funds may be pooled into specific projects. “Adopt a Water Body “concept, whereby NGOs/Corporates willing to contribute to the restoration of water bodies will be assigned specific works to be carried out. However the implementation of works will strictly be according to the action plan laid out by SWaSM. As an acknowledgement and appreciation to the contribution, proper signages indicating all stakeholders will be erected upon completion of works.

Technical Expertise
The core technical expertise to develop action plan for each water body will be drawn from every source possible including retired Government engineers, academic institutions, individual researchers, NGOs etc. The restoration plan would include:

  • In-situ measures of cleaning such as de-silting, de-weeding or any other successfully tested eco-technologies etc depending upon the site conditions.
  • Catchment area treatment which may include afforestation, storm water drainage, and silt traps etc
  • Strengthening of bund, lake fencing, shoreline development etc.
  • Public awareness and active public participation through focused events
  • Prevention of pollution from non-point sources by providing low cost sanitation
  • Proper signage to invoke a sense of pride and ownership among citizens

Maintenance
Every restored water body shall have a Maintenance Action Plan (MAP) to address all issues which may cause future degradation. In order to facilitate greater citizen participation, the entire process & timeline of the water body restoration program will be available on the website. Effective volunteer management tools will be deployed to facilitate easy communication with volunteers especially those from local community.

Monitoring
A major component in the sustainability of the project depends on the monitoring of the restoration by local community. For this purpose, local RWAs and NGOs shall be identified and act as lead monitoring agencies for the projects. Local volunteer groups will be trained to keep a check on various water quality parameters and report the same to concerned authorities in case of deterioration. On a pilot basis automated sensor based water quality monitoring will be carried out with support from Chennai Smart City.

Chennai Water Body Status

Chennai Metropolitan Area has about 3000 water bodies which include small sub 1 acre water bodies. The ownership of this vests with Greater Chennai Corporation, Revenue Department, Metro Water, PWD, Fisheries, HR & CE among other departments.

As part of the phase 1, GCC along with CSCL is aiming to restore 200 water bodies across the City.