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 Post subject: Beira Lake - The lake in the middle of Colombo
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:54 pm 
The lake in the middle of Colombo

Beira Lake with some of the commercial establishments around it.

The Beira Lake remains one of the most unique landmarks of Colombo and a historic relic from its colonial past. Over the centuries, Sri Lanka's colonial masters used the lake to defend their territory and transport goods, including the much-admired cinnamon.

Even concerts and theatrical events have been staged on its shores. According to historians, the Beira Lake probably took its name from De Beer, who is believed to have been an engineer in charge of the Dutch water defences. Some say it was a Portuguese engineer by the name of Beira who first discovered it nearly 480 years ago.

The lake was once a marshland, flooded during the British rule to provide greater security for their garrison. The Beira had been an overflow of the Kelani River passing through a swampy area known as Dam Street today.

In 1904, the extent of the Beira Lake had been around 165 hectares. Today it has been reduced to 65 hectares by the invasion of squatters.

The Portuguese considered this lake as a means of protection for their ramparts and moats which were on the other side. The Dutch introduced crocodiles to the lake to make an enemy attack more difficult.

The stench of the Beira Lake would become severe during the dry seasons, as algae growth on the lake's surface level increased during this period, resulting in gasses such as Methane, Hydrogen Sulphite and Ammonia forming in the bottom. These gasses and dead algae, together with garbage and sewage, produced the smell. The black colour of the water was also said to be due to the above fact.

Image Image

Chemical wastes rich in nitrates, together with sewage rich in phosperous, led to the production of blue- green algae.A survey carried out in 1985 by the NARA revealed that over 2000 waste outlets were open to the Beira Lake. Besides the garbage and sewer tanks, squatters' latrines also directly open to the lake.

Soap and wastes rich in nitrates, discarded material from motor repair garages, as well as waste water from hospitals, contributed to the pollution of the lake.

The restoration work of the Beira Lake commenced some years ago.

It doesn't smell bad anymore and is a very pleasant sight to look at. A new cable bridge and art gallery were also opened recently.

Pleasure boat rides, parks, fishing decks and restaurants are part of the plans for the lake.


 Post subject: Beira Lake Rehabilitation Project
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:21 pm
Posts: 50
Location: UK
Beira Lake Rehabilitation Project

I have noted with interest the recent reports of Beira Lake development project. The brief information I have seen refers to landscape improvements with grass and plants, stopping flow of sewage into the lake, and pumping seawater or water from the Kelani River to remedy the occasional drying out of the lake. I also have noted that some consultants have done some feasibility studies on the project.

With these background information and demure cogitation I regret to express my scepticism of the soundness of the proposals presented for the development of the Beire Lake.

 With regard to drying out of the lake, I have noticed a trend of perennial lowering of ground water table and associated drying of wetlands, streams and wells in the whole of Western Province over the last 30 years or so.

 Sewage discharged to the lake I believe is from the canal network comprising the storm water drainage system serving part of the city with combined sullage, not entirely raw sewage known in the water industry. This combined stormwater drainage systems keep the lake replenished from its rightful catchment. Any excess water spills over the designed outlets to the sea. There may be various other small discharges of urban waste into the lake as cited in the report above.

 As the above report suggests nutrients and blooming growth of algae contribute to accumulation of organic matter and there might be some signs of eutrophication. In a well functioning symbiosis the organic contributions would be biologically degraded resulting a balanced ecosystem. The flourishing growth of water Hyacinth is also suppose to contribute to the treatment process of aquatic system.

 Pumping water from the sea or from the Kelani River and closing drainage inlets are not what I regard as a sustainable, environmentally friendly, energy saving, exemplary, innovative solution. What might be the impact of seawater on the aquatic fauna and flora?

 The proposed superficial landscape plans may be suitable. But the designers have not tackled the problem well and presented a state-of the-art environmentally sound design.

 In my view, the appropriate solution is ‘constructed wetlands’ technology. This is a relatively recent technology that functions on the elements of natural environment like soils, rocks and vegetation. Similar to reed beds, designed to treat wastewater either with subsurface permeable media or with free water surface. There are numerous examples in US and in Britain of constructed wetlands for treatment of small scale wastewater and sewage effluent. They provide sustainable, aesthetic, eco-friendly, environmentally embellishing landscape for urban environment.

I wish the planners would reconsider their proposals and choose the ‘constructed wetlands’ technology for this complex, sensitive problem.
:shock: :idea:

 Post subject: Re: Beira Lake - The lake in the middle of Colombo
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:21 pm
Posts: 50
Location: UK
Sustainability of Urbanization

Urbanization principally refers to dynamics of the proportion of total population living in urban areas. Other features of urbanization are the concentration of nation’s multisectoral functional centres and infrastructures. The key areas of concern and importance in urbanization are the urban poor and slum settlements, sustainable transport, economic development, reconciling industrial development and its environmental impacts, and changes and trends in governance. This paper addresses the above agenda of sustainable urbanization highlighting the improvement of quality of life of low-income urban population with the participation of community, public sector and the civil society.

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