Powai Lake

Link: The Kanjur Marg Blog » Powai.

Powai Lake
Powai Lake is a large artificial lake, situated in a northern suburb of (Mumbai). The suburb called Powai, shares its name with the lake. This is where Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and National Institute of Industrial Engineering(NITIE) is located. Currently the problem of silting is troubling this once serene lake and work is going on to cure it of its hyacinth population.

The nearest Mumbai Suburban Railway station to reach the Powai Lake is Kanjurmarg. The contemporary saga of this Lake and emerging suburb of Mumbai is reported and chroniciled by a community newspaper called PLANET POWAI.

Powai as a location is basically famous because of the Powai lake and 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.

Powai Lake was built by the British at an initial cost of Rs 6.5 lakh in 1890. It was named after Framaji Kavasji Powai Estate, which was given to one Dr Scott in 1799 on payment of yearly rent of Rs 3,200. After Dr Scott’s death in 1816, Powai was taken back by the government in 1826 and leased once again to Framaji Kavasji, a Parsi merchant. At the time, Powai lake supplied two million gallons of water to Bombay. However, after Tansa Lake became a more viable option, in 1892, Powai was turned over to the picnickers.

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.