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Achari Kunta Cheruvu is a manmade lake situated near Venkatraya Nagar in Nizampet Village of Bachupally Mandal, Medchal District of Telangana State, and India. This lake is surrounded by under-construction buildings from all sides. There is also a private school near the lake. Achari Kunta Chevuru is circular in shape with dense vegetation in and around it. The lake is surrounded by few big and old trees. The expanse of the lake is approx. 1.5 acre however it has been encroached from all sides and now shrunken to 0.9 acres.
Globally, lake biodiversity is facing an agave threat today. Despite their significance, in the past few decades, the degradation of lakes is at its peak, owing primarily to rapid urbanization and other anthropogenic pressure in their catchment areas. The same situation was with Achari Kunta lake. Therefore, a rehabilitation project had8 been launched. Lake rehabilitation is basically the conservation of project by making the habitat healthy by natural/artificial interventions.
In Collaboration with the Ladybird Environmental Consultancy, we kick-started our new project in Hyderabad. The success of Nizampet Lake helped us bag this project. It was primarily the initiative taken by the local community who approached us to save their lake and we sourced the support for the same. The team that managed Nizampet Lake is back again to create the same magic.
This project is funded by DCB Bank. The works all started from April 2020 and successfully concluded in December 2021.
Project Location: Hyderabad, Medchal District, Telangana
Project Duration: April 2020- October 2021
Knowledgeable Partner: Ladybird Environmental Consultancy LLP
Funding Agency: DCB Bank
iNaturewatch Foundation carried out the lake rejuvenation activities with the help of DCB Bank who funded the project and the local NGO partner, Prahari Trust. The lake rejuvenation project was scheduled to commence in the month of April 2020 and conclude by September 2021. However due to various factors, the project activities were impacted, causing a delay in the commencement and implementation works. One of the main reasons for its delay was the pandemic that put lives on halt all around the world. The other reason was the delay in permission from Municipal Corporation. It almost took us more than a month to get the permission letter for the project from the authorities. Our local partner from Prahari Trust approached the irrigation department in order to get the permission on 28 th June 2020 but it did not get approved. So again after 15 days we submitted another letter seeking permission. Several meetings were conducted with authorities. Our project coordinator Gopal Bharti left no stone unturned in convincing the authorities to give their approval on the project. During this time, survey was conducted by Gopal Bharti and Mr. Prasad. The data generated through the survey was used to develop the signage’s. We conducted butterfly and plant survey at Achari Kunta Lake on 16 th June 2020. We sighted 2 species of butterfly, 4 species of trees and 30 species of wildflowers. We also conducted meeting with local community. 10 days later, after conducting survey on the project site and seeking all important information the irrigation department gave us permission on 29 th July 2020 for our rehabilitation project. But our problems didn’t end here. The following quarter was the most difficult time for the project as all the works that were carried out in the first 6 months got washed away in the cyclonic rains. We had done some plantations, good deal of civil works, community activities, and yet we were back to square one. We had to restart the project once all hurdles were resolved. In span of six months we lost substantial time owing to Pandemic, Permissions and Cyclonic Rains. This has delayed our main activity of plantation. The team worked actively for first six months however after floods in October, the work was put on hold. We had to request for the project extension by three months. We had to suspended our activities in
September 2020 as municipal corporation was carring out various repair works at the lake. During the period of inactivity, we conducted the biodiversity survey, regular lake and peripheral clean-up, established nursery and raised over 1093 saplings. During the time the local municipal corporation repaired the drain line, laid new lines, increased bund height and initiated boundary fencing work.
But after the storm, we finally started seeing the clear sky. The government works initiated priorly were coming to an end, so with legal permission and access to the site the project plan was restarted. We resumed our activities in last week of March 2021 by initiating the pathway development work. The civil works began with pathway development and ground preparation. This was followed with plantation works. We completed plantation of 5000 saplings with help of labourers, DCB employees and community volunteers. Altogether around 133 volunteers joined in a clean-up drive and plantation activities. We planted 210 trees, 2105 shrubs and 2685 herbs. A total of 5000 species of plants were planted. Plantation works had been completed now at the project site with the installation of drip irrigation system. In the previous records 26 species of birds and 19 species of butterflies were recorded. To assess the diversity, we conducted biodiversity survey which revealed
that the lake comprised about a total of 43 species of Birds, and 30 species of Butterflies, recorded so far at Achari Kunta Lake. As the rejuvenating activities were initiated, more 16 species of Birds, 23 species of Insects with an addition of 5 Reptiles, 2 Amphibians and 1 Mammal were recorded, which indicated it as the formation of a healthy ecosystem. In the second last quarter of the project, we conducted the biodiversity survey, did community engagement programmes, plantation review and signage development work. Altogether 96 participants were engaged in 3 programmes which included a Drawing competition for children, Deweeding and Floating Wetland Making volunteering activity. We recorded a total of 41 bird species, 47 insect species, 5 reptiles, 2 amphibian and 1 mammal. Finally we reached the end of this project
nearing December 2021.