Panaji Set to Restore its Creek to Pristine Glory

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The St. Inez Creek, flowing through Panaji City in India, was once a beautiful stream where people could safely swim and fish in its waters. But the years of neglect, indiscriminate disposal of wastewater and solid waste, and inappropriate road crossings blocking the flow have turned it into an open sewer, posing a serious health threat to the residents.

To restore it to its pristine glory, the St. Inez Creek Rejuvenation Project was initiated by Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL), a special purpose vehicle created to manage the Smart City programme for Panaji.

CDIA supported IPSCDL in the conduct of a project preparation study (PPS), which recommended a more environmentally friendly approach to the creek’s regeneration while maximizing community and youth engagement in finding solutions that residents can support and embrace.

The PPS started off with the review of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) published in 2017. While the DPR looked at the environmental problems and suggested civil engineering works, it fell short in incorporating the concepts of ‘building with nature’, community involvement or improving waste management.

This has influenced the PPS to combine sound engineering and nature-based solutions to improve the environmental conditions and livability around the creek.

One of the primary recommendations was the preparation of a land use plan that will document the land use rights and allocate functions in various sections of the creek, including the setting aside of important green areas for nature, leisure and flood management.

The PPS likewise proposed the conduct of hydrological study, which would lead to the desludging of the creek to improve its hydraulic capacity and resolve sedimentation issues. Congruently, it sought to turn existing green areas into a waterpark to improve its water flow, provide a recreational area, and improve biodiversity. These measures ultimately hope to reduce the risk and occurrence of floods along the creek.

It also proposed the development and implementation of road crossings such as bridges and culverts that take into consideration the natural environment and the city’s cultural heritage.

Furthermore, the PPS called for city-wide improvements in solid waste management to reduce the impact on the environment, and the renovation and completion of the sewerage networks for environmental regeneration.

Finally, it advocated for increased community and youth engagement to enhance the feeling of responsibility and appreciation for their natural environment.

“We are one with the city government, community members and the youth in aiming to rehabilitate the creek to its former glory, so that people can benefit from it again and see it as a social and natural asset worth preserving,” said Neil Chadder, CDIA Program Manager.

The rejuvenation of St. Inez Creek is one of the two subprojects under the PPS that seek to increase the livability of the city. See story on Panaji’s 24×7 water supply project.

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