Water is one of the basic and invaluable natural resources for humans to live. Over the past few years, pollution in multiple ways has been depleting and harming water sources. In the state of Goa, combined efforts of the local community to save a lake are nearing success.
The Bondvol Lake is a natural reservoir in Santa Cruz, a suburban area near Goa’s capital Panaji. For 110 years, it has collected rain and spring water. It is owned by the local Calapor comunidade, an ancient land-owning institution in charge of the village lands. The lake collects rainwater from the hills that surround it on three sides. Authorities put in a valve and a surplus water passage was created to irrigate fields in the surroundings, in 1910. However, land grabbers and construction firms quietly damaged the lake’s drainage valves in 2009, to dry it out and claim the land. The natural forests around the lake were cleared, along with making temporary roads leading to it at the hilltop site. Common citizens were stopped from approaching the area by goons. Peter Gonsalves, the Calapor comunidade attorney, made pleas to save the lake, at the consultation of the newly formed Goa State Wetland Authority on 12th June. “You can construct buildings. But water is a precious resource, and where we have it, we have to preserve it.” His grandfather was one of the original villagers who helped construct the lake.
The petitions and the PIL in the Bombay High Court’s Goa bench helped to set a buffer no development zone around the lake, as well as fitment of a new valve. Pressure from the citizens has made the construction projects move as well. Their last battle is to declare the water body as a wetland ecosystem for added environmental protection. The hurdle in the way is a tenant appearing to claim large tracts of the lake area by seemingly misusing tenancy laws. But seeing the sheer willpower and belief towards the Bondvol Lake, it is reassuring to know that care for the environment still exists.
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Image: Prathmesh Umesh Patyekar - 44 minutes ago