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‘Live the Lakes’: How Kudikunta was infused with new life

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SAHE ‘Live the Lakes’ is a need of the hour initiative taken up by the not for profit society ‘Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour’ (SAHE), which was formed with the intent of doing social impact activities across the city of Hyderabad. It also organises the highly appreciated TEDx events, impacting positivity in the lives of the citizens.

Hyderabad was once home to 800 lakes dotting its unique landscape that has withstood the test of time. However, indiscriminate urbanisation and unplanned development have left the city reeling under pressure leaving all but 185 lakes that are alive today. While decades of neglect might have left these lakes struggling for life, there is still hope on horizon. The Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour’ (SAHE), a nonprofit which was formed with the intent of doing social impact activities across the city of Hyderabad, has shown us the way as to how concerted efforts and a collaborative approach to transform lives can do wonders.

SAHE in association with the Government of Telangana, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and Pernod Ricard India Charitable Foundation, structured the first ever lake protection committee that included the government, citizens and corporates working together for the common cause, and the results were beyond expectations. The project SAHE undertook was the restoration work of the Kudikunta Lake, where the frothing phenomenon demanded quick action. With a population of about 25,000 in its catchment area, the lake bore the brunt of ceasless dumping of waste and sewage, making its water devoid of life. There were multitude of challenges for SAHE when the restoration activities were taken up at the lake.

However, the NGO decided to work on each challenge in an organised manner by creating awareness and working closely with communities and civic bodies. The excess sewage dump was dealt with sewage treatment and segregation and working with researchers to create awareness and clean up drives. This approach over a period of few months led to an improved quality of water and brought cheers to the community that was adversely affected by it. Being a mosquito breeding ground, the polluted water of the lake had become a prime source of diseases like dengue for the citizens living nearby.

Spreading awareness in the community and using bio-enzymes for oxidation of the water helped SAHA tackle the problem on two levels – removal of stench from the water, thus reducing the air pollution, and inhibiting the mosquitoes to breed in the lake water. To reverse the deteriorating quality of water, a paddle aerator with 1.5 HP motor was installed on a floating island to aerate the water with oxygen. The end result was an improved quality of water for the aquatic life – fishes and birds, and removal of stench. The voluntary organisation used coir pitching instead of concrete for making bund edges, trash booms and bamboo board pathways around the lake to improve lake surroundings and overall quality of life of those related to it.

Months of hard work finally paid off as the lake, which was once a drinking water resource, sprung back to life. For the first time in decades, residents living in the vicinity of the lake started returning to its banks for their morning walk. The pool of life-less water with stench emanating from its blackish water has been restored and this feat is going to play an exemplary role in providing life to more such water bodies in Hyderabad city and elsewhere in India.

(The case study in this article was provided by Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour (SAHE), an NGO working in Hyderabad)

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