45 lakes revival in Bengaluru by 2025 is the dream of Anand Malligavad. He has Rejuvenated three near-dead lakes on the city’s outskirts through a ‘natural,’ citizen-driven way.
Bengaluru in earlier days was very well known as “The City of Lakes“. Kempegowda, the founder of Bengaluru, who had broad vision, established several tanks and lakes to impound runoff water, so that the same could be utilized for better purposes and also enhanced the beauty of our garden city.
The farsighted founder dotted the city with numerous lakes/tanks in and around the city to ensure, that its citizens would always have abundance of water to drink, irrigate their lands and use for secondary purposes.
History of Lakes in Bengaluru :
The earliest history of creation of lakes in and around the city is traced to the founders of Bengaluru –the Kempe Gowdas– in the Sixteenth century and later by the Wodeyars of Mysore Kingdom and the British.
Most lakes in the Bengaluru region were constructed in the sixteenth century by damming the natural valley systems by constructing bunds.
Most of the lakes and tanks were man-made for purposes of drinking water, irrigation and fishing needs and they have also favorably influenced micro-climate of the city.
The lake waters have also served as “Dhobhi Ghats” or places where washer–men have traditionally used them as a means of livelihood for washing clothes and drying them. The lakes have also served to replenish ground water resources in the vicinity, which are tapped through wells for drinking water.
Role of Lakes – reasons for lakes revival:
In the urban area of Bengaluru, water bodies cover about 5% of the land. The lakes of Bengaluru have attained an important ecological status as the lakes have turned into lentic-closed aquatic habitats. These lakes form a unique irreplaceable system.
The man-made lakes of this zone can be viewed as a basin with several zones of water at varying depths, abutting a deeper zone that lies towards the bund.
The zonation is dynamic and promotes the growth of variety of emergent, floating, anchored floating and submerged vegetation, each of which shows a preference for a particular range of water depths.
Lakes revival – Importance of lakes to Bengaluru :
The city of Bengaluru does not have any perennial river. It is dependent on the Cauvery river, about 140 km away for water. The naturally undulating terrain of Bengaluru city, with its hills and valleys, lends itself perfectly to the development of lakes that can capture and store rainwater.
The lakes in Bengaluru form a chain of hydrological connection through them. The flow of water runs from North to South-East as well as South-West along the natural gradient of the land.
During monsoons, the surplus water from the upstream lake flows down into the next lake in the chain and from there further down. This connectivity did not allow an overflow of water out of the lake into the surrounding area as additional quantity of seasonal water was transferred to other lakes.
The lakes thus forms a chain of reservoirs in each of the three valley systems. Each valley at the ridge top gives birth to small streams. These cascades down to form major stream systems in three valleys namely Hebbal Valley, Koramangala & Challaghatta Valley and Vrishabhavati Valley.
These valleys are the repository of all the lakes in Bengaluru and these lakes themselves are interlinked to each other through a series of chains of lakes giving a cascading effect to the whole system.
Need for Lakes revival – Encroachment of lakes :
Most of the lakes have vanished due to encroachment and construction activity for urban infrastructure expansion. The city once had 280-285 lakes of which 7 cannot be traced, 7 are reduced to small pools of water, 18 have been un-authorizedly encroached by slums and private parties.
14 lakes have dried up and are leased out by the Government. 28 lakes have been used by the Bangalore Development Authority to distribute sites and build extensions for residential areas. The remaining lakes are in fairly advanced state of deterioration.
The lakes which was used for other purposes are :
- Challaghatta lake changed to Karnataka Golf Association
- Koramangala lake changed to National Games Complex in Ejipura
- Siddikatte Lake has now become Krishnarajendra Market
- Karanji tank is the Gandhi Bazar area
- Kempambudhi is now a sewerage collection tank
- Nagashettihalli lake changed to Space department
- Kadugondanahalli lake changed to Ambedkar Medical College
- Domlur lake changed to BDA layout
- Millers lake changed to Guru Nanak Bhavan, Badminton Stadium
- Subhashnagar lake changed to Residential layout
- Kurubarahalli lake changed to Residential layout
- Kodihalli lake changed to Residential layout
- Sinivaigalu lake changed to Residential layout
- Marenahalli lake changed to Residential layout
- Shivanahalli lake changed to Playground, Bus stand
- Chenamma tank changed to a burial ground at Banashankari 2nd Stage
- Puttennahalli tank changed to J.P. Nagar 6th Phase
- Jakkarayanakere has been converted into a sports ground
- Kamakshipalya Lake is converted into a sports ground
- Baalayyana Kere (kamakshipalya) is converted into a sports ground
- Dasarahalli tank is converted into Dr. B.R Ambedkar Stadium
- Bagalagunte hosa-kere in sy No 83 changed to residential layout
- Bagalagunte Hale-kere in sY No.113 encroached partly, all the side of lake
- Kacharkanahalli lake is the newest encroached Lake
- Jaraganahalli lake in survey number 29/2C of jaraganahalli village, uttarahalli hobli, Bengaluru e south taluk. This is on kanakapura road, very close to sarakki signal. The lake has been completely encroached.
Lakes revival – Biodiversity :
The lakes of Bengaluru are home to a diversity of living beings. The different types of biodiversity found in lakes of Bengaluru are:
- Birds: Purple moorhen, Pheasant tailed jackana, Comorants, Kingfishers, Weaver birds, Purple Herons, Pond herons etc.,
- Flora: Typha, lily lotus, algae, tapegrass, ferns, reeds and rushes
- Fauna: Freshwater turtle, frogs, crabs, molluscs
- Fish: Common carp, Grass carp, katla, Rohu etc.
Anand Malligavad to revive 45 lakes in Bengaluru :
After months of research and study on the city’s lakes, 38-year-old Anand Malligavad is all set to rejuvenate and revive 45 lakes by 2025.
First on the list of lakes revival was Kyalasanahalli Lake near Anekal, which was revived in 45 days.
Anand designed and executed the rejuvenation, rehabilitation and lakes revival with the help of nearby communities and some techies from Electronic city.
Kyalasanahalli lake :
They began the work of restoration on April 20, 2017 with a mere budget of 1 crore and 17 lakh. The money was provided by Sansera Foundation. The nearby community helped in restoring the lake.
Without the help of any industry experts, architects or engineers, Anand, a mechanical engineer, along with fellow citizens, removed almost 4 lakh cubic meters of mud from the lake.
The mud which was removed was then used to create five islands of 110 diameters each. All these across the lake, in only ten days. These islands now serve as nesting areas for birds, with a huge tree planted in the middle for nests, as well as fruit-bearing and flower saplings around.
A total of 18,000 saplings, 3,000 fruit bearings of 22 varieties, 3,000 native species of plants, and 2,000 ayurvedic plants, now populate the lake area, providing it with a bounty of natural treasures.
On June 5, 2017, the lake was fully transformed with flora and fauna. This paved the way for Anand, a lake conservationist to save the rest of the lakes.
Join Anand and the Better India as part of the Lake Revivers Collective. With his hard work, expertise and will to make it happen, he has been transforming the city to its former natural glory. By doing this he is inspiring many more on the way.
To volunteer or know more about his lake restoration work write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org