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A BRIEF HISTORY OF POWAI LAKE

It is believed that the present location of Powai Lake was the original Powai Valley -- a central village, with several clusters of huts each having its own well. Powai village was also served by a rivulet resulting from the rain waters of the lowest slopes of the Western Ghats, now seen as the hillock on the South end of the Lake, with streams from the Eastern & North eastern slopes of hills. The authorities during the British regime intended to augment the water supply to Bombay City by creating a lake from this rivulet and in 1891 this was achieved by constructing two stone dams across two hillocks each dam was and still is about 10metres high. The spread of the water body thus achieved was about 370 acres or 2.10 Sq Kilometres and the depth varied from about 10 ft (off periphery) to 40 ft at its deepest. The lake is about 17 miles from central Bombay. Average rainfall at Powai is about 2540 mm, and the lake overflows for about for 60 days each year. Studies in 1995 estimated 3000cubic metres of silt as having been deposited over the years. It is believed that the original wells still exist below the water level but could have been silted up.

However after all this effort by the authorities it was found that the waters of Powai were polluted and unfit for drinking various studies were conducted which repeatedly confirmed these findings till finally the project was abandoned.

Then Powai Lake was leased out to the Western lndia Fishing Association a quasi government organisation who used it for both fish culture and Angling but later the Bombay Presidency Angling Association was formed and approved by the then Bombay Govt. in 1936, later the name was changed to The Maharashtra State Angling Association it was Registered in 1955 under the Societies Registration Act 1860. The Founder was the late Hugo Basil Hayes of The American Express Bombay. The objective of the Association was Angling as a sport. In 1991, realising the rapidly deteriorating environment and fast disappearing beauty spots in Bombay, The Maharashtra State Angling Assn. decided to amend its Constitution and involve itself in Environment work to preserve Powai Lake from the innumerable destructive influences working against it, and in 1991 the following Constitutional amendment was introduced-- "To actively care for clean develop maintain and beautify the Environment at Powai Lake". Since then the MSAA undertakes the following work:

Water Analysis
Removal of Water Hyacinth Infestation
Supporting Research with Fisheries Dept
Working with other Environment bodies
   Introduction of Fishes
   Augmented Security
   Conservation of the Great Indian Mahaseer
   Releasing articles to the Press
and other matters as identified from time to time.

The MSSA has been responsible for Powai Lake having been included in The National Lake Conservation Programme of the Govt, of India, which is pending implementation.


 
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