BBC news > South Asia / January 15 2006
Leaking lake poisons water
A rare good monsoon in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan should be cause for celebrations. But in Udaipur, the city of lakes and grand palaces, recent rain has come as a mixed blessing
The good news is that for the first time in 10 years, the parched lakes of Udaipur are brimming with water The bad news is that the water is leaking out of the lakes rapidly.
A spokesman for an environmental group Udaipur Lake Protection Society, Anil Mehta, says 10 million litres of water from the famous Pichola lake are seeping out through the cracks in its embankment walls every day. Pichola is famous for a stunning white marble hotel which sits in the middle of its waters.
Contamination — "At this rate," says Mr Mehta, "the lake would be completely dry by next year."What is worse, he says, is that this water is entering the city’s newly-renovated sewage system. Environmentalists blame the city municipality for the sorry state of affairs.
Environmentalists blame the city municipality for the sorry state of affairs.
They say the civic authorities set up a new sewage network on the lake bed a few years ago.
They believed that the lake would never fill up. They dug out the lake bed to set up the sewage network, and they didn’t repair it properly," says Tej Razdan, another member of the Lake Protection Society. "Also, in the last few years, the walls of the lake had begun to crumble, they had developed huge gashes, but the authorities ignored our demand to repair the embankment walls."
But the heavy rains during this monsoon have caused the lake to overflow, giving the administration sleepless