Tiruppur, a parched village of Tamil Nadu, saw 5,000 people joining hands to revive a lake and replenish the ground and surface water resources. Led by Kumar Duraisamy, Project Director, Voluntary Organisation for People Empowerment for Rural areas by Youth (VETRY), the people of the village spearheaded the rejuvenation work of lake Andipalayam. Kumar cleared the encroachments near the lake, helping free up the water catchment area and enabling the easy flow of rainwater into the lake. The businesses that earlier encroached the area also cleared the canal and waterways. The initiative helped with water getting accumulated in the lake in the next couple of years, says a report of The Better India.
Due to massive industrialisation and commercialisation around the lake Andipalayam, there was a reduction in groundwater recharge, which had reached up to 1,000 feet, and the borewells were dry. The residents helped in lake desilting. The encroachment removal helped free up the water catchment area and enabled the easy flow of rainwater into the lake. The businesses also agreed to clear the canal and waterways. Kumar next approached the local population to help in restoration work.
TR Sivaram, president of VETRY, conceptualised the technical aspects of the initiative which helped to shape the conservation programme.
The initiative that started with people participation soon gained corporate contribution. The builders’ association and other businesses decided to contribute and speed up the efforts. The project had six excavators, costing Rs 15,000 a day, to speed up the de-siltation work. The Tirupur quarry association offered stones to create stone bunds, by placing stones along the walls of the lake for protection. These bunds also demarcated the lake area. Residents also contributed. The overall work helped to increase the depth of the lake by 1.5 metres. Today, the lake has water, which is accessible up to 38-feet in the circumference of about 3 km of the lake. The overall groundwater levels have increased to 200 feet in the past few years.