Despite rain & snow, water level remains low in Naini lake
Friday, 08 March 2019 | Afzal Fauji | Nainital
Naini lake around which Nainital town was settled and named after, is not only a major source of water for the town and nearby areas but also the main tourist attraction here. However, the condition of the lake itself has been deteriorating for some years with its water level on the wane. As per the standards, the water level in the Naini lake should be about eight feet by the end of February. However, despite the recent rainfall and snowfall in and around Nainital, the level of water in this lake was only about 5.65 feet on Wednesday.
Despite the rain and snowfall experienced in Nainital and in higher altitude areas nearby, the level of water in the Naini lake has not risen as expected. In Nainital, about three inches of snowfall was recorded on February 27 and 28. The level of water in the Naini lake had risen by 1.5 inch during that period. After that there was consistent rainfall but the level of water in the lake actually dropped by 1.5 inch. In recent days too, despite rainfall, the level of water in the lake has been dropping by about half an inch on a daily basis. However, the situation so far is not as alarming as it was during the previous year.
It should be mentioned here that last year the level of water in the lake had dropped to 2.60 feet. Compared to that the water level this year is still three feet higher. Still, considering the consistent rainfall and water supply from the lake being facilitated as per a roster, the water level in the lake is still not satisfactory. Observers state there are many reasons for this state of affairs. These reasons include the fact that rainwater from residential areas is not harvested but drained into sewerage lines, water is also wasted during supply through pipelines and lack of water retention in the watershed areas of the lake.
The issue of rainwater from homes being drained into sewer lines had also reached the high court recently. It should be mentioned here that naturally, 60 per cent of the water in Naini lake is rainwater while recharged ground water accounts for 40 per cent. The snowfall and rains during the winter play an important role in recharging the groundwater.During the past three years, Nainital neither received good snowfall nor rain during the winters which has affected the level of water in Naini lake negatively.
According to sources, about 8,00,000 litres of water is supplied per day from 11 tube-wells in the watershed area of Naini lake by the Jal Sansthan for drinking purposes and other domestic use. The natural sources of water for the Naini lake have not been able to become more active. The main reason is the rise in constructions in the watershed area of the lake. Due to this, the ground water which used to recharge the lake has now become limited even as the majority of natural springs in Nainital town have dried out.
Illegal constructions in Sukhatal also to blame for Naini’s condition
Nainital: The level of water in Naini lake has been on the wane due to various reasons. Observers opine that one of the major reasons is the illegal constructions in Sukhatal area. A bulk of the water in Naini is recharged from the watershed area of Sukhatal.
However, rampant illegal constructions and protracted official apathy towards Sukhatal has exerted a negative effect on Naini lake. Further, the remaining quantity of water supplied for domestic use should be returned to the lake but this is being drained through sewerage to outside the town. PNS