Powai Lake

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Powai Lake is an artificial lake. The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, one of the premier institutions of science and technology in India and the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) are located close to the lake.

Housing complexes and plush hotels are developed all around the lake periphery. Population around the lake has thus substantially increased over the years.

When it was built, the lake had an area of about 2.1 square kilometres (520 acres) and the depth varied from about 3 metres (9.8 ft) (at the periphery) to 12 metres (39 ft) at its deepest.

The Powai Lake has gone through many stages of water quality degradation. The lake water which used to supply drinking water for Mumbai has been declared unfit to drink. The lake still remains a tourist attraction.

Powai Lake, the pride of Powai
- Elsie Gabriel

Although I fell in love with the Powai lake twenty five years ago when I made my first maiden visit as a collegiate for a IIT festival, the green foliage, kacha winding roads and fresh mountain air has made way to a modern cosmopolitan Powai, holding within its frame the skyscrapers and gardens as well as numerous swimming pools and latest amenities all set up to pamper its new found home owners alright.

The Powai lake does not provide drinking water to the city of Mumbai therefore it is given a step motherly treatment. But the Powai lake is very rich in biodiversity and flora as well as fauna. It is an important wetland of Mumbai and can help absorb much pollution and carbon dioxide present in the city. The Powai lake has over six varieties of snails, over twelve varieties of fish, flowers and trees and most of all has crocodiles. It is very rare to have a city which has a lake with crocodiles and therefore the citizens and the government must know its value. At present the lake is filled with water hyacinths and silt.

The Powai Lake is the landmark of Powai here in Mumbai. The lake has been in the eye of the storm quite often, as many understand that superficial beautification around the Powai Lake will not save the Powai Lake; this is a water body shrinking because of the need to ‘de silt’ it annually! Mumbai authorities in charge of the water body should realize that most of the lakes whether natural or man-made, are directly or indirectly associated with the river systems. There is an organic relationship between the lakes and river systems.

On the façade a thick green carpet is the first sight that greets one at the Powai Lake. A little ahead, a layer of moss floats on the stagnant water; and then far away one can see clear lake water. During the summer, islands of debris and rocks appear in the middle of the lake. During the rainy season it overflows into the Ambedkar Gardens adjoining the lake which leads to the Mithi river, taking along with it more soil and pollution from the hills and area’s around it. It is the cauldron of the Powai habitat which makes Powai very unique from any other ward in Mumbai. Everyday the Powai lake greets you while you drive past, blinking and winking through the greenery, faithfully the lake is always there absorbing everything, through thick and thin. Beautiful Kingfishers, Terns, golden Oriels and Hornbills, Bulbuls, Mainas, Herons and Egrets, wild fowls and ducks, Harriers and Wagtails and numerous other migratory birds come to roost here at the Powai lake waterside. It is their home!