In Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur, there is never a shortage of water, thanks to one man and his efforts — Kumar Duraisamy.
Around the year 2022, drought was a common occurrence in the town due to massive industrialisation around lake Andipalayam that led to a reduction in groundwater recharge.
The lake’s primary water source, river Noyyal, was cut off by massive encroachments surrounding a 5 km radius of the water body.
The transformation has now taken place with the tireless efforts of Kumar and 5,000 residents who contributed to turning the tides in their favour.
Spearheading the lake rejuvenation work, Kumar reached out to the encroachers explaining the situation and requesting them to shift bases.
The encroachment removal helped free up the water catchment area and enabled the easy flow of rainwater into the lake.
He adds that the locals then began desilting the lake. The residents carried buckets, tubs and whatever else to remove silt and deepen the lake, which would enhance its water-carrying capacity.
Soon, builders' associations and other businesses decided to contribute and speed up the efforts.
“The industrialists agreed to hire six excavators, costing Rs 15,000 a day, to speed up the desilting work until the monsoon. Experts in the field also contributed their technical knowledge,” he says.
Tiruppur’s quarry association offered stones to place along the walls of the lake for protection.
“Today, the water is accessible up to 38 feet in the circumference of about three km of the lake. The overall groundwater levels have increased to 200 feet in the past few years,” Kumar asserts.
The lake revival has also helped biodiversity thrive.
Kumar believes that the lake revival is an example set by the citizens and can be replicated across India.
“The success of Tiruppur shows how a citizen movement can contribute towards protection and revival of the environment,” he adds.