As winter sets in, Dharamshala’s Dal Lake dries up again
With the end of monsoon and onset of winter, the Dal Lake in Naddi village on outskirts of Dharamshala town has begun to dry up, a problem persisting for over a decade now.
Located 1,775 metre above sea level amid thick cedar forest, the lake that once had crystal clear water is dying a slow death.
The lake has gradually lost its water storage capacity due to rapid silting and continuous seepage. This has further affected the flora and fauna in the catchment areas.
Kangra deputy commissioner Sandeep Kumar said administration knows about the matter and it is working on restoration work of the lake.
“Firstly, fishes from the lake will be transferred to some other waterbody and then we will take technical advice from the experts on how problem can be resolved permanently,” Kumar said.
No solution seems to work in saving the picturesque waterbody, which also has a religious significance as devotees who can’t undertake pilgrimage to Manimahesh Kailash Lake in Chamba take the holy dip here.
No solution works
The problem of silting and seepage first appeared in mid-2000s. The local administration started desilting and restoration work in 2008 but it instead aggravated the problem as the lake completely dried up.
Later, a restoration project worth ₹70 lakh was approved to plug the leakage and carry out desilting. Till now, an estimated amount of ₹40 lakh have been spent on renovation, but all the efforts to restore the lake have gone waste.
“Once the lake had crystal clear water round the year. However, for over a decade, the water level drastically drops in winter and in summer it is almost dry,” said Prem Sagar, who runs a tour and travel business in McLeodganj.
The water has also turned muddy and tourists who come to see the lake return disappointed, he added.