City of lakes

How many lakes do you know in and around Bangalore – Ulsoor, Sankey Tank, Yediyur, Lalbagh,Puttenahalli, Madiwala. Surely you know more! try harder….NO? Apparently Bangalore used to have over two hundred lakes and tanks once upon a time.
“Bangalore once had 141 lakes of which seven cannot be traced, seven are recognisable as small pools of water, 18 have been unauthorisedly occupied by slums and private parties, 14 have dried up and are leased out by the Government. In the area where there were once 28 lakes (in different locations, of course), the Bangalore Development Authority has distributed sites and built extensions. The remaining 67 lakes are in fairly advanced state of deterioration.”
Read on more here:

It is pretty obvious where the water bodies must have existed from the names of some of the localities – for example channamanakere, or arakere. ( Kere in Kannada means a tank). Before the big Bangalore boon, these areas were of course agricultural villages surrounding Bangalore and these tanks were essential for the survival of cultivation. As Bangalore has grown to encompass all these areas, slowly these agricultural lands have been acquired and converted for residential purposes and many of these tanks and lakes have been filled up and leveled to be used for construction of apartments and residential colonies. According to official estimate, about 60 lakes have been encroached upon apart from those which have become dry long ago and been closed with official sanction.

Those lakes that have survived this face another kind of threat – discharge of sewage water into them. This has rendered them unhealthy, ugly apart from contamination of the ground water table.
The state government has proposed many schemes to attack the issue from several angles. Encroachments are to be handled using the “Eviction of Encroachment of Public premises Act”.
Work is to be undertaken for the restoration of lakes in a state of deterioration – for example the restoration of Madiwala lake is to be entrusted to the Karnataka Land Army Corporation.
The government has also introduced a “adopt a lake” programme which encourages interested parties coming forward to adopt the upkeep of a lake . The stake holders could be residential associations or corporates or builders or any benefactors. It would be the responsibility of the stake holders to desilt and deweed selected lakes and maintain them by keeping them clean and preventing their pollution by the draining of sewage water into the lake.. Six lakes have already been adopted.
“Deeply concerned with the unchecked deterioration of lakes in and around Bangalore and conscious of their critical role in maintaining healthy environs and recharging of ground water, Lake Development Authority was created vide Government Order No. FEE/12/ENG/02, Bangalore, Dated. 10th July 2002.”
You can read more about the Lake Development Authority here.
And to read what N. Lakshman Rau, the first administrator of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) and artist of the path-breaking 1986 report on lakes and tanks in the city has to say, read his interview here:

3 Comments so far

  1. Ravi (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 11:13 am

    Topical post and one that I was thinking about writing on, actually!
    I think one way for the lakes to fill up, over a period of time, would be if like in Chennai, rainwater harvesting is made mandatory! This way, groundwater tables are likely to be recharged all across the city! What say you?

  2. NParry (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

    Lake preservation and rejuvenation will be successful only when we the citizens take the initiative to keep it clean. We’re the ones who throw all sorts of garbage, not the BMP or the PWD. We’re the ones who trash any available open drain or water body, not the government. So why blame the BMP for not maintaing the existing lakes and drains…Which civic-minded citizen would throw mattresses, machines, utensils in the nearest available drain and then cry hoarse when the monsoon hits? It’s us… the good citizes of Bangalore, not the city managers who are responsible for the city’s progress or decline. Why can’t some of the very articulate and progressive-minded citizens in this blog design a well thought-out public education campaign about the dangers of throwing trash in the drains and lakes around us??

  3. Johnson (unregistered) on April 28th, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

    The city of Bangalore was (not anymore) planned -trees from various parts of the world were planted, lakes created … the entire city was man made.

    The city is growing, so many lakes have to go. But, we the citizens of Bangalore – lets preserve a few ones and not throw garbage there.

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