‘Why can’t tertiary water be used to fill Sukhna Lake’
The Punjab and Haryana high court asks the UT administration why the tertiary water cannot be used to fill Sukhna Lake, facing ‘extinction’.
The order was passed recently by the high court bench of justice Rajesh Bindal and justice Ramendra Jain, during the resumed hearing of a petition on dispute over the lease rent amount between Chandigarh administration and Chandigarh Golf Club.
The club had informed the court that a total land leased out to it is 132 acres, which includes forest area of 71 acres and on the balance 61 acres there is a green belt and some construction on small portion. “ Tertiary water supply is used for watering the green areas,” club had stated.
Upon this, the high court asked the UT as to how much tertiary water is generated in the city, capacity to treat that water and the quantity of water supplied to the club for watering the 61 acres of green belt. It also asked as to how much water is supplied for watering gardens, green belts being maintained by the administration and the municipal corporation. The UT will also apprise the court whether the tertiary water can be used for augmenting water in lake as well or not and if not, why?, the court asked while posting the matter for further hearing on July 11.
Another petition is pending in the high court bench of justice AK Mittal and justice HS Sidhu in which court is monitoring steps taken by the Chandigarh administration to save the lake. A committee with officials from central government and Punjab and Haryana, presided over by secretary engineering Anurag Agarwal has been constituted to revive the lake. The water level was last week recorded at 1152.50m. Against the needed depth of 10 feet, the Sukhna has now shrunk to a mere 1.75 feet.
Earlier, this year, the experts had predicted that water is evaporating from the lake at the rate of 8mm a day (around one/40th of a feet a day, or a feet in 40 days) and if it does not rain, by June 30, it will go dry (depth at .7 feet, less than the depth of a child’s toy swimming pool). However, city witnessed 60 mm of rain last week and post rains, temperature is being recorded at below 40 degree, thus reducing the chances of lake completely drying up.
The Met has also predicted pre-monsoon showers by June 19 and arrival of monsoon by June 30. The rains may have saved the lake from drying up completely, but has hit de-silting as the UT has maintained that de-silting can’t be done on wet surface. The UT had finalised the tender for de-silting of lake for ₹20 lakh. But work has not been started.