Cognizant and Grundfos join hands to restore Sembakkam Lake

Cognizant, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, and Grundfos today announced funding support for the restoration of the Sembakkam Lake in Chennai.

Cognizant will contribute more than INR 2.7 crores (approx. USD 360,000) and Grundfos will contribute USD 230,000 (approx. INR 1.7 crores) and up to USD 10,000 (approx. INR 7.5 lakhs) in kind for civil works, wastewater treatment, and landscaping to rejuvenate the 100-acre lake that flows into the Pallikaranai wetland, one of south India’s last remaining natural marshlands.

The two companies will collaborate with the India chapter of The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest conservation organisations, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and Chennai-based Care Earth Trust, a non-governmental organization that works in the area of biodiversity conservation.

Expected to be completed in 2021, the work will involve cleaning the inlets and outlets, improving the lake’s connectivity with upstream and downstream water bodies, building an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system, and constructing walkways and green buffer zones along the lake.

The project will help clear the lake of solid wastes, silt and invasive plant species, improve the lake’s storage capacity by 50%, enhance groundwater recharge and improve water quality. It will benefit over 10,000 households living around the lake and conserve the local biodiversity consisting of around 180 plant species (including 11 aquatic species) and more than 65 bird species. One of the goals of the project is to provide a natural recreational space to the local community and involve them in the maintenance of the water body.

In addition, after the COVID-19 situation improves, volunteers from Cognizant Outreach, Cognizant’s employee-led volunteering program, and Grundfos, together with project partners, will run a range of community engagement and awareness initiatives, expert talks, lake festivals and tree plantation drives ― to ensure long-term impact of the restoration project.

Poul Due Jensen, Group Executive Vice President, CSO, Grundfos, said, “Grundfos pioneers solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improves quality of life for people. We are also committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #6 (Water and Sanitation) and we have set very ambitious and concrete goals for ourselves. By 2030, Grundfos will save 50 billion cubic metres of fresh water through efficiency and treatment and will have contributed to providing safely managed drinking water to 300 million people in need. Our support towards the restoration of the Sembakkam Lake is aligned to delivering on these objectives. By restoring this lake, we are not only strengthening its ecosystem, but also the connection between people and nature by providing a platform to connect them with the waterbody and its habitat.”

Muthu Kumaran, Global Head of Delivery for Cognizant Digital Business and the head of Cognizant’s Chennai operations, said, “We are pleased to be a part of this much-needed lake rejuvenation project as part of our commitment to a greener, healthier, more sustainable environment. The Sembakkam Lake is one of Chennai’s 54 inter-connected lakes of the Pallikaranai watershed basin that are critical to the city’s water security and resilience to floods and droughts. We believe this initiative has the potential to become an inspiring example of how the coming together of various stakeholders for a rejuvenation project of this scale can redefine the future sustainability of urban ecology. We congratulate Care Earth Trust, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, The Nature Conservancy, and all individual as well as corporate contributors to the project for their remarkable work towards restoring this vital lake to its former glory.”     

Seema Paul, Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy's India Program, said, “The support of Cognizant and Grundfos is vital to taking up the critical eco-restoration work at Sembakkam Lake. We are deploying science-based and nature-led solutions using constructed wetland systems that use minimal energy, require zero chemical additives, and are inexpensive for wastewater treatment at the lake. We will continue monitoring the lake even after the completion of the project to ensure sustainable maintenance. Bringing together our learnings from this project, we are developing a best practices guideline to catalyse scale-up of scientific and holistic, wetland restoration across the city.”

Some of the other experts involved in this project are the Consortia of FINISH society, Indian Leather Institute Foundation (ILIFO), The Solutions Centre (TSC) and Oasis Designs.

About Cognizant
Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH) is one of the world’s leading professional services companies, transforming clients’ business, operating and technology models for the digital era. Our unique industry-based, consultative approach helps clients envision, build and run more innovative and efficient businesses. Headquartered in the U.S., Cognizant is ranked 194 on the Fortune 500 and is consistently listed among the most admired companies in the world. Learn how Cognizant helps clients lead with digital at or follow us @Cognizant.

About The Nature Conservancy
As a science based non-profit, The Nature Conservancy is committed to conserving lands and water on which all life depends. Since 2015, the Nature Conservancy in India has been advancing projects to support India’s efforts to develop win-win solutions for people and nature. TNC - India works closely with the Indian government, research institutions, NGOs, private sector organisations and local communities to develop science-based, on-the-ground, scalable solutions for securing food, water and clean air. Our strategy balances conservation goals, biodiversity improvements, and carbon sequestration while improving livelihoods for local communities. We are committed to working with partners to advance pragmatic and scalable solutions. Our priorities in India include Providing Food and Water Sustainably, Building Healthy Cities, Protecting Land and Water, and Tackling Climate Change. For more information, visit:  

About Care Earth Trust
Care Earth Trust, established in the year 2000, is engaged in biodiversity conservation for human wellbeing through research, advocacy and capacity building. Since its inception, it has evolved to be an equal opportunity, non-discriminating organization with a pan India presence. In addition to assessing human impact on the environment, the organization recommends evidence based strategies and action for the mitigation of adverse impacts and increasing ecosystem resilience. It also provides technical services in areas such as wetland restoration, biodiversity inventorying and monitoring and in developing training and capacity building initiatives on conservation. Care Earth Trust was awarded the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar in 2009 by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for its pioneering work on conserving the Pallikaranai Marsh and the Nanmangalam Forest.

About Indian Institute of Technology Madras:
The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) is an Institution of National Importance set up by an Act of Parliament. Based on the recommendation of the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has awarded IITM the status of an Institution on Eminence on September 5, 2019. The division of Environment and Water resources engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering has 14 faculty and a fully equipped laboratory and computational facility. The major research areas include air and water quality monitoring, modelling and management, water and wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste management, water resources planning and management and urban water supply. The department has made major contributions in the fields of fundamental and applied research such as  treatment of heavy metals in contaminated water, developing industry specific sustainable waste management solutions and integrated solid waste management. They are also involved in projects of societal importance such as restoration of water bodies in Thiruvottiyur, Siruseri and in Pallikaranai watershed basin in Chennai.