Implementing Nature-based Solutions: Wazirabad Lake Restoration

The Need: The problem of flooding in urban areas is caused not just by overflowing rivers, but also by the misguided way in which our cities cope with urbanisation. Overburdened drainage, rapid and unregulated construction, and concrete structures without considering the natural landscape   and   hydro-geomorphology   all   contribute   to   the   problem. With   increased urbanisation, builders have been progressively constructing on reclaimed wetlands, flood plains, and lowlands of the city since these places have lower land rates. When a city floods because of heavy rain, the attention is on the breakdown of public services, school closures, and transportation difficulties, among other things. While these issues grind the city to a standstill and create headlines for a few days, what is lost is the focus on who suffers and what are affected the most and how. The constant transformation into a concrete jungle, comes with a cost of numerous ecosystem services, especially in a place like Gurugram, where major concerns of the region are urban flooding, water crisis, depleting green spaces, and pollution.

The restoration of a small lake in the village of Wazirabad of Gurugram in Haryana state was undertaken by SEEDS and other stakeholders. The lake was severely polluted by inflow of raw sewage through its inlets. It also received greywater from the nearby housing settlements as point sources.  Although the outflow of the same was blocked by buildings and new roads on the eastern  and  northern  side, thus the water  was  stagnant  with loaded organic and inorganic pollutants. The restoration of the waterbody would not only revive  the  biodiversity  and recover the green spaces within the urban landscape, but also act like natural to excess water flowing from the Aravali hills.

How We Helped:  Our team on the ground developed the area around lake into a recreational space and designed learning spaces for children around the lake. The idea was to improve water quality of the lake through bioremediation and beautification of the lake.

The key components of the intervention in phase one was building ‘Lake View Park’ in the two-area area surrounding the 18-acre water body. The park comprised a jogging track, play area for children, mounds and seaters, open gym, reflexology court, prefabricated toilet installation.

Leaving a Mark: While the ultimate goal through rejuvenation of Wazirabad Lake, also known as Saraswati Kunj is restoration of the urban waterbody, protection of biodiversity and development of recreation space from wasteland, the immediate impact observed was improved greens spaces in the area, improved natural absorbers to control the excess waterflow from flooding the area, clearer and cleaner water channels to support outflow of the water.

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