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Historical records confirm that in 1839, Mr. P. Barron, who is supposed to be the first one who visited Nainital, from Rosa, an English business man in sugar trade, on a hunting expedition accidentally coming across the lake at Nainital was so captivated that he decided to build a European Colony on shores of the lake. The news magazine, the Englishman Calcutta, reported in 1841 discovery of this lake near Almora.[4] It is believed that two Indian sages visited there, wandering, it is a belief of people that they blessed the lake with divine power, one can acquire divinement by taking bathe in it, and the same as in the Mansarovar lake.

The lake is bounded by the high and steep Naina peak on the North West side, by the Tiffin Top to the south west side and snow view peaks on the north. Coniferous forest trees cover these hill ranges. The annual rainfall in the basin area of the lake is reported to be 1294.5 mm (43.15 inches). Tropical monsoon climate with maximum temperature 24.6 °C and minimum of 0.5 °C are recorded. The water is reported to be alkaline in nature (ph value of 8.4–9.3)

The National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) of Roorkee who prepared a plan for the restoration of the lake, at an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore (about US $10 million), sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, are also now guiding the restoration measures.[8] The Conservation and Management Plan evolved by NIH is not only lake centric but also proposes to tackle the immediate periphery of the lake which contributes an adverse impact on the lake. The “Nainital Jheel Parikshetra Vishesh Kshetra Vikas Pradhikaran”, the Lake Development Authority notified under U.P. Special Area Development Act 1986 is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up for implementing the restoration works.[1] The restoration works that have been implemented or are in different stages of implementation are the following:

  • Limnological measures such as bottom aeration,[9] siphoning of hypolimnetic water, biomanipulation and limited sediment removal from the deltas of drains which lead to the lake.
  • Soil Conservation & Slope Stabilization measures in the form of soil conservation and watershed management activities in the catchment area of the lake, slope stabilization, Drainage line treatment, landslide scars to be treated with Coir geotextiles with gabioncross-barriers and proper maintenance and cleaning of drainage system
  • Provide 100% coverage of the town surrounding the lake with sewers and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs)
  • Improved sanitation around the lake and in the catchment with new community toilets to cover all sections of the society, improved design of household toilets

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