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| Last Updated::13/08/2018

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Date base for Eco-restoration and development of Panamarathupatti Eri, Salem District

Date base for Eco-restoration and development of Panamarathupatti Eri, Salem District
 
Executive Summary
Owing to the fast degrading condition of the lake ecosystem, The Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu has commissioned centre for Ecology & Economics, Chennai to develop an Eco-restoration plan for Panamarathupatti Lake and development of sustainable strategy for eco-tourism.
The assignment comprises of a number of components, viz.: Development of a Water Management Plan, Ecological Assessment, and Development of Ecotourism Strategy and development of facilities outside the protected area, environment of proposals and development of Operation Management Plan.
Problems/ issues confronted by the lake
Major Issues:
  • Lack of flow into the lake due to alteration of natural flow regimes of streams that feed the lake in the upstream catchment.
  • Alteration of natural channels and diversion into patta land blocking flow into the lake.
  • Seepage through two weak zones (lineaments) observed in the lake bed that is further exacerbated due to the illegal soil mining through them. In some pockets the soil mined to a depth of 3-4 m within these weak zones.
  • Water guzzling species like prosopis juliflora that has invaded the lake area. 
  • Conflicting sectoral approaches to Management adopted by various agencies that have a stake in the lake have accelerated degradation of the Lake Catchment and lake area. Currently, the management authority of the lake area lie with the Salem Corporation (SC), while most of its catchment area under the management of the Forest Department, TWAD Board, State Ground Water Department and the Revenue Department who initiate and control different type of interventions in the lake catchment.
  • Construction of a series of check dams that have capacities much larger that would be necessary for silt control.
  • No proper institutional mechanism with adequate skilled manpower and policy mechanism for sustainable management of the lake and its resources.
  • Lack of support and participation from the stakeholders specially the local communities in the conservation and management of the lake.
  • Cracks along the entire stretch of the bund causing concern about its structural safety and potential for enhanced seepage through embankment.
  • Increased pressure on the lack of alternative livelihood opportunities with the local tribal people.
  • Uncontrolled extraction of ground water throughout the catchment accelerates the seepage and the reduces the runoff into the streams that speed the lake. Also this cause excessive recharge to take place from the already depleted storage in the lake.
Other issues:
  1. Lack of basic tourism infrastructure including poor condition of the approach roads to the lake area.
  2. Degrading condition of the forest cover within the catchment area leading to soil erosion.
Eco-Restoration Plan:
Based on the evaluation of the characteristics of lake and its catchment, identification of the management objectives where carried out. The critical problems confronting the lake were thoroughly analysed to develop rationale for the management objectives. The target under each management objectives where quantitatively defined. Following the analysis of the features and definition of management objectives, specific projects where developed for land and water management, biodiversity conservation, ecotourism development, monitoring and evaluation mechanism and institutional development as shown in the management planning framework outlined below.
  • Details of specific recommendation (action plan) under each component for restoring Panamarathupatti lake ecosystem and promoting ecotourism to generate additional income for the local communities and other stakeholders are outlined as under:
Component 1: Integrated Land and water management.
The enhancement of water availability in the lake is central to restoration and management of Panamarathupatti Lake and pre-requisite to ecotourism development in the region. The modification in the drainage network and soil mining with in the lake due to unplanned human activities are the major challenges to achieving this prime objective, In addition, the erratic as well as less rainfall being in the rain shadow region and high evapotranspiration rate compounds issues.
Following discussion with TNUIFSL., efforts were made to estimate the extent to which the lake can be filled and restored with minimal interventions like channelization in the lower Tippampatti sub-Catchment and controlling the seepage through soil mined areas. Following are the necessary action plan to be carried out to enhance the water availability in the lake area:
  • Excavation of top soil from the lake bed. The removed top soil will be used for filling up of the soil mined areas and surplus soil shall be used for strengthening of the bund areas.
  • Clearing and realignment of the channel/stream network until it reaches the main water spread areas of the lake.
  • Rehabilitation of the highly degraded lake bund and seepage control through pressure grouting with cement slurry.
  • Settlement of dispute between patta and poramboke land proper drainage network.
  • Restoring the Tippampatti catchment to the extent feasible, which has been heavily intercepted and diverted.
  • Provision of V-notch on the check dams
  • Afforestation of degraded forest area.
Component 2:
Biodiversity Conservation Focus was made to reduce the presence of invasive species and propagate the growth of negative and endemic species.
  1. Conservation of the endangered and endemic plants species through tissues culturing.
  2. Set up of herbal garden to conserve medicinal plants.
  3. Plantation of economically important plants species around the lake periphery to generate additional revenue for the local communities.
  4. Plantation of fruit yielding trees within the lake to attract more birds which will help in the maintenance of a bird sanctuary within the lake.
  5. Developing pasture land in the upper portion of the lake and some parts in the immediate catchment area where controlled grazing is to be propagated through the formation of SHGs.
  6. The fodder grown in these pasture land are to be sold at nominal prices for generation of revenue which can further be utilized in the management of these pasture land and lake management as a whole.
Component 3: Ecotourism Development
As the availability of water in the lake would not be throughout the year, it would not be sustainable to develop only water-based eco-tourism projects in Panamarathupatti Lake. Therefore it was envisaged to develop a mixture of water -based as well as land based eco-tourism projects. All the eco-tourist projects/ activities are designed to reflect the local culture and traditional and also to involve the local communities as much as possible to improve their economic status and livelihood.
Component 4: Institutional development
A strong and competent institutional is pre-requisite to appropriate management of any water body. Hence, a major focus is made to build capacity within the salem corporation, concerned government agencies, village Panchayats and community organizations for the conservation of management of Panamarathupatti lake. Adequate communication, education and public awareness programmes are incorporated in the proposed action plan.
Component 5: Development of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism are proposed at the stage of lake restoration project to scientifically monitor and periodically evaluate the interventions to enhance water availability and improve ecological setting.
Set monitoring targets for achievement of project goal and objectives. Formulation of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for project management and effective implementation of the project activities.
  • Train staff within SC for carrying out rapid EIA of major interventions proposed in the plan.
  • Set up monitoring station for regular collection of hydro-meteorological and ecological data which can be utilize for appropriate monitoring of the overall health of the lake ecosystem.