The Naini or Nainital lake presents a somewhat sorry sight these days — locals are used to seeing the water body brimming with water, but unusually hot weather, coupled with deficit rainfall, has led to the water levels in the lake dropping by as much as 10-15 feet.
According to the met department, the average rainfall in Nainital district between June and September is 1,439.1 mm, which dropped to 1,268 mm last year. The average rainfall in Uttarakhand should be 167 mm for June, 428 mm for July, 426 mm for August and 207 mm for September. But in 2015, the rainfall received was 187 mm for June, 337 mm for July, 305 mm for August and 52.6 mm for September.
However, the department has predicted a good monsoon season this year, and locals hope that the rains will replenish the lake and restore it to its former glory.
Lake Development Authority (LDA) project manager GL Sah said that a good monsoon will replenish the lake to its usual water levels. He said that rain water is the main source of recharging the water in the lake, which also supplies drinking water to the city through tubewells dug in its vicinity.
“The lake will overflow if the city receives a good monsoon, otherwise the situation would be the same in the coming summers. It is a relief that the met department has predicted a good monsoon this time,” Charu Chandra Pant, a Geology professor at Kumaon University, Nainital, said.
Hoping to increase the water capacity of the lake, the city administration had earlier announced that it will remove over 20,000 tonnes of debris from the lake to increase storage by one crore litres. The administration has already succeeded in removing close to 10,000 tonnes of debris with the help of JCB machines.