The Water Resources Department has initiated work to reduce the height of the Cooums bund to allow floodwater to flow into the river.
It may be recalled that the department had raised the bund height to 3 m during the desilting and widening work carried out last year. One of the reasons cited for the exercise was the prevention of encroachments. Now, WRD officials said the height of the bund would be reduced to 1 m to match the road height.
The road height being lower in places abutting the river, such as South Cooum Road in Pudupet and Swami Sivananda Salai, it hindered the flow of rainwater into the waterway.
WRD plans to complete the work in two months. We earlier levelled the bund after clearing encroachments in the city limits. This work will not affect the flood carrying capacity of the river, an official said.
The 9-km stretch between Choolaimedu and Napier bridge was being covered as part of the integrated Cooum River Eco-restoration Project. The work is being carried out based on the recommendations of project consultant, LKS India Private Limited.
Several native species of trees, herbs and grass will be planted as part of the eco-restoration plan of the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust. In some portions of the river, workers are also engaged in clearing the floating vegetation clogging the waterway.
On stretches of the river choked by vegetation, like near Koyambedu flyover, officials said de-weeding was being carried out periodically. However, controlling the flow of untreated sewage into the river will be a permanent solution to the spread of water hyacinth as it thrives on nutrients found in wastewater.