The Arasamara Kulam is a pond of the size of one acre in G.N. Palayam. Five kilometres east of central Pondicherry. The area around the pond was for agriculture use back in the day. Due to rapid urbanisation, the area has now developed into a fully urbanised area with mainly one to two storey homes.
The pond was in a bad shape. The bunds were non-existing structures. Therefore the depth of the pond was at a minimum. Certain areas were completely water free. Invasive plants could be found all over the place, due to their good adaptability on bad conditions. Native species like bamboo or palm got pushed out of the habitat. The missing of a large number of native trees, let to a decline in the native bird population in the area.
To add, the pond, as it is the case with many of them, got used as a dumpsite for housing-related waste. Especially plastic waste hinders water to percolate into the ground. Greyish water used to flow into the pond trough one major inlet.
Conditions of the Arasamara pond needed to change.
Conservation work was undertaken during this years September in several steps.
At first, the dumped garbage got removed. These activities were held with the help of the local community and around 120 students from different schools. These actions need to be done in order to facilitate a functioning water percolation.
Secondly, the invasive plants and shrubs needed to be pulled out.
Next, the pond got de-silted. The excavated sludge was used to build and strengthen the bunds later on. Bunds are the essential part of a pond because they de-mark the outlines and increase the water holding capacity with their addition in hight from the ground level. If bunds are formed further encroachments and negative activities are prohibited.
A recharge pit got installed in the middle of the pond with a size of six by eighteen meters. The caught water centres in the middle of the pond. This increases the percolation rate and groundwater recharges faster.
But still, the treatment of greywater was a problem, which needs to be solved but in the ecological way of fashion. In that matter, an 80-meter long trench got to build around the pond. Open oxidation is possible which cleans the water in a natural way. Native plants such as vetiver were planted, in order to naturally filter heavy metal. At the beginning of the trench, a filter, which stops debris and solid waste got installed and is maintained every three days in order to keep the water flowing.
E.F.I. implemented a community-based model of conservation. The local inhabitants got introduced in the topic and could get involved in several activities. The goal is to boost the awareness of the locals for especially the water bodies around there home. These actions prevent future encroachments by humankind.
As the restoration is completed by now outcomes can be seen already. After the recent and heavy rainfalls, the pond got partially filled up. Cleaner water can be seen now. The environment will improve in a longer amount of time. The already improved habitat will attract a larger number of birds and with it establish a working ecosystem in this one-acre big space. Due to the higher amount of storable water, the temperature already declines in the near area. Water has a much higher heat storage than air. Therefore it cools down the surrounding area.
The restoration was an all and all success for the environment and the locals.
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2 thoughts on “The Restoration of Arasamara Pond by E.F.I.”
I think that a couple of cement benches along the wall of the pond would be a great addition. It will encourage people to come and enjoy the tranquility of the pond and enjoy nature.