Conservation & Beautification of Charlotte Lake, Matheran
Matheran, Raigad District, Maharashtra
Commissioned by – Matheran Municipal Corporation, funding from Environmental Department of Maharashtra State.
Matheran is Mumbai’s nearest Hill Station at an altitude of 836 meters. The area surrounding it has been declared as an Eco Sensitive Zone by MoEF. Being a hill station, tourism is the major occupation. There are only two lakes on the Plateau used as a source of water, Charlotte Lake & Simpson Tank. Simpson Tank is only used for horses & ponies, and hence Charlotte is the only drinking water source on the Plateau when pumped water from Ulhas river is not available.
Charlotte is a manmade lake built by British, which is part earthen & part masonry dam. Though located on a plateau, it has very steep catchment having drop of almost 150 meters in 1.5 km. Laterite cap present on the plateau makes the catchment very vulnerable to erosion. Increasing human intervention in the catchment of charlotte is destroying the 5 tier forest. Loss of green cover, Erosion, Silting, Solid waste & water pollution are the major issues for Charlotte Lake
The proposals included redefining the culverts to reduce erosion & arrest the silt from entering the lake. Contour trenching & Nala Bunding with indigenous plantation has been proposed to reduce erosion and restore the dense tree cover in catchment area. Proposal also includes development of infrastructure for tourists by developing the dam wall, approach and plazas. A Nature Interpretation Centre also has been proposed to help spread public awareness about the rich nature around the water body and it’s importance for the plateau.