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#FightDrought by Restoring Lakes & Ponds In Drought hit Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu witnessed 606 farmer suicides last year. Since October 2016, it has seen two farmers committing suicides daily.

It is facing the worst drought India has seen in the last 140 years.  The North-East monsoon, which serves as the key source of water for the region, failed drastically, deficit by 62% last year. This combined with overexploitation of ground water, lower reservoir levels, the Cauvery water dispute and crop stress conditions, has left the state parched and is claiming the lives of two farmers every day between October 2016 and now.

NAGAPATTINAM – The Worst Affected District
The Nagapattinam district has been the worst hit due to this acute water shortage and has seen the maximum number of farmer suicides. There are 135,000 paddy farmers among the 175,000 farmers in the district which falls in the Cauvery delta. Due to the acute water shortage, less than 20% of the paddy sown has crossed the flowering stage. The problem further intensifies since paddy is the main crop of the region, given nature of the soil. Nagapattinam enjoyed salubrious environment and was known for its lakes and gardens.  As per the revenue records the city had more than 300 lakes in the past, unfortunately due to rapid & unregulated urban growth resulted not only in the illegal encroachment/ reclamation of lake areas but also contributed in the drastic reduction in their number. Conserving and retaining their fresh water status is a key solution to the current water crisis.

The Better India is coming together with The Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI), to #FightDrought, a LAKE & POND RESTORATION campaign that will focus on cleaning, desilting, deepening and restoring two ponds in the region.

The two ponds are going to be the Kiramaththu Medu-Thamarai pond in Keelvelur Taluka(a 2.5 acre pond) and the Thiruvaimur-Thamarai pond in Thirukuvalai Taluka, Nagapattinam District(size: 5 acres).

Proposed Activity
Baseline Study of the Lake and its Catchment.
Scientific study of the catchment which includes detailed hydrological, geomorphologic and ecological assessment. To prepare the project report. This time will also be used to avail necessary government permissions.
10 days
STAGE 1: Lake/Pond Clean Up
Removal of Physical Garbage and Weed Removal around the lake/pond. With the help of local residents and other volunteers to ensure community participation.
The clean ups are critical, in order to inform the public prior to restoration so as to keep the community involved
5 days
STAGE 2: Lake/Pond Desilting
Removing excess silt across the entire expanse of the lake/pond during the dry season. The depth at different portions of the lake is to be decided based on the base line.
15-18 days
STAGE 3: Bund Strengthening & Native Species Plantation
Using the excavated silt the bund around the
entire expanse of the lake/pond will be packed for 3ft height. To hold the packed bund native Indian species will be planted on the bunds of the lake. This will be followed by a protective fence creation to prevent future encroachment.
15-18 days (simultaneous to the desilting)

Expected outcome:
  • Water recharge facility to the distance of 850m to 1km directly, indirect impact to the range of 3 to 3.6kms
  • 1,800 to 2,000 families to benefit per pond, over long term with recharged groundwater in the region; with estimates of 4-5 heads per family, the project will benefit around 20000 inhabitants of the area
  • Psychological impact to the larger district leading to several more water conservation efforts in a minimum of 90 to 95 surrounding villages.
  • Restored water body to ensure improved water table (Groundwater stabilization)
  • Restored water body to ensure temperature regulation
  • Restored water body will help in preventing waterborne diseases
  • Restoration to have an overall ecological, economical and climate impact in the villages chosen.

Total cost for cleaning and restoring of two ponds/lakes of an average area of 3 acres each: Rs. 10L
Cost Includes:
  • Machine rental: Earth moving equipment such as a Hitachi 220 for desilting and deepening of the water body. 
  • Bund strengthening efforts with excavated silt. Creation of inlet and outlet regulation.
  • Fuel charges for the machinery, labour charges for operation of machinery.
  • Staff stipend for fieldwork for EFI
  • Following outreach and awareness programs

Ask for an update
16th November 2017
Generous donors,

We're ecstatic to inform you that with your help, EFI and The Better India have been able to restore both the Thiruvairmur Pond in Nagapattinam District and the Chellaperumal Nagar Pond in the Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu.

Nagapattinam was the worst-hit regions of the drought and its revival augurs well for the for the rural farming community residing there. The second pond located in the Kanchipuram district has helped its peri-urban community of 24,000 residents.

Based on public interest and local volunteering support, E.F.I took on the task of reviving this water body.

Steps involved in restoration:
1. To clean up the trash dump from the pond
2. To deepen the pond by excavating excess silt deposited in the pond
3. To establish and strengthen the bunds of the pond
4. To regulate the inlet and outlet of the pond
5. To establish a rainwater harvesting central pit with leading trenches to ensure improved
water conservation.

• Name of Activity: Chella Perumal Nagar pond restoration
• Location: Sriperumbudur
• Restoration type: Scientific restoration of the pond.
• Water quality: Good
• Purpose of the pond: Drinking water, groundwater recharge, and irrigational usages.
• Catchment: Rainwater.

The deepened, bund strengthened pond is prepared for the North East monsoons and is expected to have an increase storage facility by 18 to 22%. This will have a positive impact on the groundwater, temperature regulation and would prevent water-borne diseases. The effort to restore the water body is to continue with sustained community engagement to guard the pond.

Nature of the work
1. Garbage removal; De-weeding to increase water percolation
2. Contour Desilting to increase the water holding capacity of the lake.
3. Bund Formation and Bund Strengthening to keep the water levels intact and  clearly demarcating the boundary of the water

Thank you for all the support. 
11th October 2017
Dear Supporters,

After successfully restoring the first pond in Nagapattinam, we identified Chellaperumal Nagar pond, a few kilometers from Sriperumbudur - a pond which has been long neglected. In spite of having been located in a suburban Tamil Nadu. Rapid urbanization and unplanned development have ensured a poor water management paving way for one or the other water calamity year after year. There is an urgent need for mass sensitization in the field of water conservation and immediate field-based efforts to revive freshwater habitats to prevent future calamities.

Once a deep and lush drinking water source, the pond over the years, has become a cesspool of suburban sewage and exploitation. Based on public interest and local volunteering support, EFI, supported by The Better India, took on the task of reviving this water body. With administrative permissions from the Kanchipuram District management and voluntary participation from local citizens, the pond has been restored over the last 45 days.

The deepened, bund strengthened pond is prepared for the North East monsoons and is expected to have an increase storage facility by 18 to 22%. This will have a positive impact on the groundwater, temperature regulation and would prevent water-borne diseases. The effort to restore the water body is to continue with sustained community engagement to guard the pond.

A huge vote of thanks to everyone who contributed to this campaign a reality. It is you who have thus made a better India.
 Chella perumal nagar pond: Before restoration
 Chella perumal nagar pond: Work in Progress Chella perumal nagar pond Restoration
27th July 2017
Thank you all for your donations. EFI has already finished its work in the first pond and thus we are closing the fundraiser now. EFI will continue working on the ground until they restore the ponds completely.

Your generosity will go a long way in helping Nagapattinam's farmers. You can read all about the campaign's impact here:
raised of Rs.1,070,000 goal

239 Supporters

Beneficiary: Environmentalis... info_outline
Only INR donations accepted

Supporters (239)

Theiventhiran donated Rs.500
about 1 year ago
SASHIKANTH donated Rs.50,000
about 1 year ago
Sarath donated Rs.1,400
about 1 year ago
Shahbaaz donated Rs.100
about 1 year ago


Lucky donated Rs.500
about 1 year ago
Sheriff donated Rs.500
about 1 year ago