Dying a Slow Death – Lakes of Tamil Nadu

Lakes form an important part of an ecosystem. They help sustain the aqua-life as well as their surrounding habitat, and provide us with water for both domestic and industrial purposes. Lakes also help in regulating the flow of rivers.

In Tamil Nadu, lakes are one of the most important pillars required for agriculture and irrigation. They supply most of the water for the growth of common crops. But our underestimation of the vitality of these rich water resources has led to a dreadful result – a revelation made by a news article published in February 2021 informed the public of the disappearance of thousand lakes and tanks in the last five decades. This is just an estimate. There may be a plethora of reasons behind this, though one major and often unheeded one is the excessive irrigational pressure put on Tamil Nadu’s lakes.

Farmers tend to use surplus water for cultivation than the standard requirements. In addition to these, they heavily depend on pesticides and insecticides to maximize production and increase their profits each agricultural year. The chemicals used either seep into the soil and contaminate the groundwater reserves, or flow down into the lakes, causing water pollution.

The Pulicat lake, situated about 50 kilometers north of Chennai, is gradually choking to extinction, as water-intensive cultivation and industrial expansion continue to push the lake to the brink of its existence. Extensive irrigation also makes room for silting, that drastically supplements the danger faced by the aquatic life.

An article published a few years ago had reported that the silting process diminishes the depth of the lake. Many fish species that survive in the water body usually prefer deeper waters, any due to this, the population of twelve to fifteen species of fish declined at an alarming rate.

We need to implement expeditious measures to protect the precious lakes of Tamil Nadu. Laws and regulations aren’t enough, we need to act on them and work towards our goal. Lets save Tamil Nadu’s lakes!

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