Govt Invites Foreign Help For Dal Restoration

16 December 2009
Greater Kashmir
Arif Shafi Wani

Srinagar: In a bid to facilitate speedy restoration of Dal Lake, the authorities have approached a top company in the United States which is considered to be a pioneer in conservation of highly polluted water bodies. It has been a consistent demand of Valley environmentalists and conservation groups to seek help of foreign experts in restoration of the Dal which has been extremely polluted due to unabated flow of sewage and silt from its catchments areas. Though the government had entrusted the famed water body’s restoration to the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), but it has been struggling to cope with the higher rate of its deterioration.Now the LAWDA has approached the Clean-Flo International, a US based company pioneering natural restoration of lakes, ponds, rivers, reservoirs and wastewater since 1970. Officials said the company has designed a unique continuous laminar flow inversion system and developed environmentally safe phosphorus-binding chemicals and beneficial bacteria to address various lake problems including algae, excessive weed growth, poor water quality, bacteria and organic sediment build-up. “The Dal Lake in Jammu and Kashmir State is a world famous lake. The lake is presently facing problems like excessive weed growth, algae, algal bloom, deteriorating water quality. This Department is presently looking on the conservation and management of this lake and some remedial measures have been taken by the Government of India for its conservation. We would appreciate if your firm suggests solution on weed growth, algae and other problems being faced by the lake,” the LAWDA vice-chairman, Irfan Yasin, wrote in a letter to Clean-Flo. Irfan said he has received a positive response from the company. “It has directed its representatives based in India to get in touch with us. We hope to facilitate their visit to the lake and start working with them soon,” the LAWDA chief told Greater Kashmir. He said the Clean-Flo has managed to improve water quality, reduce weeds, algae and organic sediment, and improved fishing in several of lakes, ponds, rivers, reservoirs and wastewater treatment basins across the world. The chocking of the lake’s outlets has reduced its outflow capacity causing stagnation of waters particularly near the SKICC and Northern Foreshore Road. “The Clean-Flo’s continuous laminar flow inversion and oxygenation system employs natural non-turbulent inversion to aerate the lake from bottom to top. It allows natural lake restoration processes to naturally occur within a lake using oxygen (air) and natural lake restoration bacterial and enzyme products,” Yasin said. Pertinently the Clean-Flo has to its credit restoration of polluted water bodies including San City Lake in Korea and Lake Weston in Florida. “These water bodies faced similar problems like Dal Lake. Though we have been making interventions to restore the Dal, but there is no harm is trying the proven conservation methods. This company offers us a natural and non-chemical restoration approach. We are open to new restoration measures,” he said. But he maintained that the method would be subjected to through testing before its intervention into the Dal. “We want to ensure that the technology works in the climatic conditions of Kashmir. The Clean-Flo scientists would first assess water quality data and existing conditions of the lake. Our scientists will work in close coordination with the experts to form appropriate strategy for Dal,” he said. Earlier this year LAWDA had thought of infusing various species of bacteria into the Dal for clearing the lake of harmful effluents, a process called bio-remediation. But the plan didn’t take off.