Coimbatore's Smart City Initiative Restores Seven Lakes

Photo of Coimbatore's Smart City Initiative Restores Seven Lakes by Khyati Maloo

Periyakulam Lake, Krishnampathy Lake, Selvampathy Lake, Kumaraswamy Lake, Selvachinthamani Lake, Valankulam Lake, and Kurichikulam Lake - these seven historic lakes have undergone an incredible transformation under the Smart City initiative. Coimbatore's smart and friendly CEO, Prathap, envisions these revived lakes not only as scenic oases but as magnets for boosting the city's tourism. Before we jump in, let's understand what is Coimbatore's Smart City Project.

Coimbatore's Smart City Project: Transforming Urban Life

Coimbatore emerged as a frontrunner among 20 cities competing in the Smart Cities challenge. Selected in the first round in 2016, it embarked on a journey of urban transformation. The Smart City initiative aims to enhance urban living through innovative projects.

This initiative covers diverse areas such as Water Restoration, Energy Conservation, Water Supply, Solid Waste Management, Model Roads, Smart Surveillance, and Social & Infrastructure Development. One notable focus is the Water Restoration Project, crucial among the lined-up projects.

Reviving the lakes goes beyond restoration – it involves creating parks, open spaces, botanical gardens, and zoological parks. Continuous water quality monitoring will occur using technology-equipped floats. Biodiversity assessments are planned for the lakes. Dedicated pathways for walking, jogging, and cycling will be established, alongside skywalks over roads.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! But, how is this vision panning out?

Photo of Coimbatore's Smart City Initiative Restores Seven Lakes by Khyati Maloo

Coimbatore's Green Renaissance

M Prathap, the city's leader, shared, "Reviving these connected lakes is the biggest project we've taken on since we became a Smart City. We started in 2017, with a big goal: to not only fix the environment but also give our fast-growing city new places to enjoy." This ambitious journey started with the ambitious Periyakulam Lake. Covered in plants and stink before, it's now bustling with boats, water sports, and relaxation.

The interconnected system of lakes, canals, and rivulets served as a flood buffer and groundwater recharge system, enhancing the region's agriculture. Approximately 20,000 acres of agricultural land were irrigated through this network, boosting the region's agricultural wealth.

Photo of Coimbatore's Smart City Initiative Restores Seven Lakes by Khyati Maloo

Thanks to these smart interventions, Coimbatore's public space availability surged from 2.17 sqm to 4.9 sqm per capita, aligning better with WHO standards. Illegal encroachments on the lakefronts were eradicated, freeing up 28 acres of land for public use and relocating 7,680 households under the Smart City Mission.

The lakes' revival has made them epicenters of leisure and activity, drawing in over 2,000 daily visitors for sports, strolls, and relaxation. Prathap is optimistic about the lakes' potential to fuel tourism by encouraging visitors to stay and explore the city beyond its transit status.

This isn't just a tale of lakes; it's a tale of time travel. The Smart City Project is preserving the lakes' historical essence, it's also ushering in the future with eco-friendly practices. It's like having a time machine that blends heritage with sustainability – how cool is that?

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