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Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake likely to go dry by June 30

Silt and weeds cause extensive damage to this national wetland, another 45 days of evaporation without rain could lead to complete drying of its bed, say experts
This summer could be the last that residents enjoy the Sukhna Lake. With rain predicted almost every day, but nothing on the ground, by June 30, a day after the monsoon is scheduled to hit the city, the Sukhna’s bed will run dry.
Against the needed depth of 10 feet, the Sukhna has now shrunk to a mere 1.75 feet. Experts have predicted that water is evaporating from the lake at the rate of 8mm a day (around one/40th of a feet a day, or a feet in 40 days) and if it does not rain, by June 30, it will go dry (depth at 0.7 feet, less than the depth of a child’s toy swimming pool.
This means that from April 1, till Thursday (May 18), the Sukhna has lost more than half of its depth.
Out of its depth, why?
With the required water level from the sea (mean sea level) needed at 1,163 feet, the current level at 1,152 feet is already alarming — enough to restrict boating. At some places, long thin strip of land has emerged and on sides of the Lake, the water level is just above one feet.
The man-made lake, also is a national wetland, has lost its water body area to silt and forest cover that has grown on this area. Over the years, weeds and evaporation have emerged as the other two causes that have led to the present state of affairs, where a two-month dry spell could spell an end to the lake — situated in an upscale and VIP area of the city.
Why the drastic drop in water level?
As per a report from the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, a major reason for loss of water in the lake is evaporation. Poor rainfall, too, leads to a drop in the water level. Sukhna’s waterholding capacity has also reduced drastically due to sand deposits.
Boating yields Rs 4 lakh a week
The Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) operates 135 paddle boats, five shikaras and one cruise boat that had a capacity 20 people. It earns around Rs 4 lakh a week (Rs 50,000 on weekdays and Rs 70,000 on weekends.
Cloudy weather predicted for Sunday
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Chandigarh, has predicted that there would be cloudy weather again around May 21 (Sunday) in the city. “There is possibility of thundershower activity or light rain around May 21 and May 22. It will bring down temperature,” said Surender Paul, Director, IMD, Chandigarh. Friday will record 39°C with Saturday to see a notch higher temperature at 40°C.

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