Mumbai University's artificial lake dries up, turles and fish die

Students write to Mumbai University, whose VC himself is a marine biologist, seeking its nod to replenish lake at the Kalina campus with tanker water

A dead turtle in the lake on Kalina campus. Pic/Sameer Markande
A dead turtle in the lake on Kalina campus. Pic/Sameer Markande

The Mumbai University made an artificial lake on its Kalina campus with much zeal, but that's where the enthusiasm seemed to end — the waterbody is drying and the marine life within dying. The decade-old lake has been bearing the brunt of summer with the fish, turtles and other animals inside floating up dead. Irked by the administration's indifference, students have now written to the varsity, asking for permission to bring water tankers to fill the lake.

The artificial lake on Kalina campus, which was built over a decade ago, has been lying in a pathetic state. Students have expressed worry over the lake's receding water levels, killing the marine life within.

The decade-old lake on Kalina campus has been steadily going dry and throwing up dead fish and turtles. Pics/Sameer Markande
The decade-old lake on Kalina campus has been steadily going dry and throwing up dead fish and turtles. Pics/Sameer Markande

High and dry
"There are different types of fish inside, most of them already dead; a few are managing to survive in the small amount of water remaining. Ducks living around don't have sufficient water to drink. It has become a stinky place, where mosquitoes have started breeding," said Imran Kawser, a postgraduation student who has written to the university administration.

The lake, which is six-foot-deep and 75 feet in diameter, is so dry that one can easily cross it on foot. While little fish have crowded the small amount of water remaining in the centre, the big ones are all dead, as are the turtles.

Kawser said, "The lake has no way of getting water other than from rain. After monsoon, the water stays till winter. As soon as summer hits, it starts evaporating rapidly. It has not been built appropriately. When the university knows this is going to happen every summer, it should have created a proper mechanism to take care of it."

Univ's defence
University registrar Dr. MA Khan said they would soon be sending water tankers to get the levels up. When asked why the administration waited till it went dry, without any concern for the habitat inside, he added, "Varsity has not created the habitat. Somebody put some fish inside and the habitat grew. The lake is an incomplete project. It is awaiting filtration, which is required to keep the water clean. The question of maintaining comes only once it is complete and functioning properly."
"There is no specific department given the responsibility to look after the lake. Varsity's engineering and administration department looks after the area," he added.

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