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Powai Lake in Mumbai


There is a beautiful scenic place just about six kilometers east of Andheri railway station where Mumbai finds a breath of relief from its urban bedlam. The Powai Hill and the Powai Lake lie in the Powai valley of northern Mumbai. Named after Framaji Kavasji Powai Estate the Powai Lake is an artificial lake comprising an area of 520 acres (2.1 square kilometers) with an average depth of three meters to 12 meters. Once the drinking water supplier for the city of Mumbai is now a popular tourist destination only as the water quality has long been degraded and therefore declared unsuitable to drink.

Powai Lake

History of the Powai Lake

Powai Lake was officially inaugurated by the British in 1891 to harness the requirement of drinking water in Mumbai. The actual plot including some villages like Koprikhud, Paspoli, Tiandaj, Saki and Tungave was given to some Dr. Scott on lease in 1799. After the death of Dr. Scott in 1816 the plot went to the British Government officially in 1826. But it was again given on lease to Framaji Kavasji Powai, a Parsi merchant who was the Vice-President of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of Western India. The plot had been in use for various agricultural experiments by Mr. Powai since he had a keen interest in both agriculture and horticulture.

As the demand of proper drinking water in the city was getting higher, the British Government took the plot from the Powai Estate and ventured an artificial lake to suppress the water-crisis in Mumbai. They made two dams with height of 10 meters each to store the rainwater that comes from the lower slopes of the Western Ghats. The Project was completed in 1890 costing an amount of more than Rs.6,50,000.

Initially the lake provided two million gallons of water each day. But the quality of the water was questioned and the water supply was dismissed for a short span. In 1919, lakhs of rupees were invested on the project to restore the water supply and the project was again fell short and sent away. It was then leased to the Western India Fishing Association. This semi-government organization used the lake for pisci-culture, angling etc. which subsequently gave birth to an individual organization called Bombay Presidency Angling Association (now The Maharashtra State Angling Association).

The alarming deterioration of the quality of the water and rapid declination of the surroundings of Powai Lake made this association realize the urgency of preserving the lake. In 1991, the Maharashtra State Angling Association amended their constitution and made the Preservation of the Powai Lake a foremost requisite. More importantly, the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) launched a project in 2002 named the ‘Ten Main Lakes’ of India to be preserved and revived and Powai Lake was included as one of the lakes. This movement resulted in a speedy recovery of the lake and its surroundings. Right now, the Powai Lake comprises with a beautiful garden and some traditional huts make this an important spot in Mumbai.

Powai Lake2

Flora and Fauna at Powai Lake

The lake Powai is home to the Balsam bushes. These pink-purple bushes could be seen spread around the lake. The lake also has a rich fauna culture. Scores of Crocodiles are seen often on the shores. Besides, there are Spot-Billed Suck, White-Throated and Small Blue Kingfishers, Dove, Sunbirds, Jacanas, Red-Vented, White-browned Bulbuls, Indian Pond Herons, Egret, Peregrine Falcon, Hoopoe, Butterflies, honey bees are often seen.

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