Article By: NYOOZ
Kolhapur: An almost dry Kalamba, the historic & major lake in Kolhapur, is an unusual sight in February. For the 1st time in its 135-year-old existence, the lake has shrunk to 5% of its original size, while the water levels are at a precariously low of 4 ft against the 15-18 ft usually reported in February every year. The lake, spread over 63.13 hectares, can store water upto 27 ft when filled to its maximum capacity. At present, the water has shrink to a bare 3 hectares & levels have dropped to 4 ft. At the present pace, the lake may dry up completely by February-end or mid-March.
Environmentalists fear that the aquatic system developed in the water body over 135 years will end completely. The lake was constructed by visionary king Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj to ensure clean & safe drinking water facility to Kolhapur city. The remains of 125-year-old pipeline from Kalamba to various places in the city still exist. Kalamba is an earthen dam about 4,300-ft long & 27-ft high. It was constructed in the lake between 1881 & 1883 on the southern side of city. The lake was developed by building a bund between the 2 ridges & impounding the water of Katyayani valley.
Locals said they could not recall a time when the lake had dried up to this extent. Even in 1972, when the state faced its worst drought, the water levels hadn’t dropped this low. Besides scanty rainfall in last monsoon, they blamed the mismanagement of the water body & unrestricted construction in the lake’s catchment areas in the hilly terrain of Katyayani. The lake falls in the Kalamba grampanchayat area adjoining the city & is managed by Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC).
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