Umiam Lake
The scene of Umïam Lake with garbage floating in water. Image credit - Northeast Now

A committee of the Meghalaya Assembly on Environment on Thursday found that the life of the polluted Umïam Lake has been reduced by 41 years from 100 to 59 years, which will end in 2024.

The committee with Independent MLA from Mawphlang constituency, S.K Sun, as chairman, inspected the Umïam Lake and found that the adverse impact on the life of the Umïam dam was the result of huge deposit of garbage and silt.

Sun said that the committee on inspecting Umïam Lake was surprised to see that the lake has become a dumping place for all types of garbage.

Also read: Meghalaya: Conrad discusses ways to ensure Shillong city, Umïam Lake clean

“Though most of the garbage has settled at the bottom of the lake, but the quantity of garbage including plastic waste seen floating, was abnormally huge. The committee while assessing the views of the State Pollution Board, is of the opinion that Umkhrah and Umshyrpi rivers are like open sewers. The two rivers are over-burdened not only with liquid waste but with tons of solid waste which include plastic that drain into the Umïam Lake,” Sun said.

Constructed in 1965 for storage of water to generate power, but the Lake is now a dumping place for garbage which include plastic.

“The Me.E.C.L officials who were present during the inspection informed the committee that the dam has a design life of 100 years. But, now the life span of the dam will end in 2024,” he said.

He informed that studies related to assessment of siltation in the Umïam dam was conducted in 1990 by M/s Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) and in 2004 by the M/s Tojo Vikas International Private Limited, New Delhi.

Sun said that the Me.E.C.L officials admitted that the quantity of silt deposited is about 0.5 Million Cubic Meter every year

The management of the lake is undertaken by Me.E.C.L and water quality is being monitored by the Meghalaya Pollution Control Board and the lake catchment is managed by the Forest Department, and the urban watershed is a neglected orphan.

Apart from electricity, Umïam Lake also provides a range of ecological, economic and cultural services.

The reservoir was created through huge public expenditure and the onus to save it lies with the people.

Sun urged the people to join hands in saving the Umïam Lake and not to throw waste indiscriminately especially on the Umkhrah and Umshyrpri rivers whose water flows down to the lake.

“It is a matter of concern for all of us and the committee will consider the matter seriously,” he said.


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