Pithoragarh, September 1
Environmentalists and residents of Nainital have a big reason to worry about as the world famous Naini Lake has been drying out gradually for the past 40 years. Though heavy rain took place in August, the water level in the lake remains minimum. “The water level in the lake in August was recorded at 7.5 ft, which is 16 ft less than the average level. The ideal level of water is about 10 ft at this time of the year,” said Nanda Ballabh Pandey, in-charge of the Naini Lake control room.
According to the Naini Lake control room sources, during the monsoon the water level in the lake generally remained about 10 ft even when the rain was below average. “We were ordered to open the gates of the water passes of the lake towards the Balia nullah in case the water level goes above 9 ft. The rainy season has nearly passed but water in the lake never reached this level,” said Pandey.
The sources said such a situation had arisen only four times in the past 50 years. On many occasions, the water level in the lake had gone up and had to be diverted to the Ballia nullah. But this year such a condition was unlikely even in September, they added.
Nainital generally witnesses more than 450 mm of rain on an average. Girish Ranjan Tiwari, a Nainital-based journalist, said, “The main reason for the decrease in the water level of the lake is that maximum water was drawn from it and rainwater from houses was discharged into the sewerage line instead of the lake. The lake, which had 250 natural water springs around it in 1950, is now has only 30 natural springs. This has reduced the water intake capacity of the lake,” said Tiwari.
Nainital residents are worried over the situation as the lake is important from the tourism point of view and it also fulfils the drinking water needs of the town.

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