Many rejuvenated lakes remain dry despite heavy rains
Not all lakes have benefited from the recent spate of heavy rains. While Jakkur, Rachenahalli, Madiwala, Doddakallasandra lakes received a fair amount of water, many others, including those that have been rejuvenated, were not so fortunate.
Doddanekundi lake, for instance, did not receive water. “It should have been brimming with water, but resembles a grassland. There’s even cattle grazing on patches spread across the lakebed,” said a resident.
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had spent around ₹10 crore on the rejuvenation and beautification of the lake before handing it over to the BBMP in February this year.
P. Pramod of Nekkundi Tank Rejuvenation Association (NeTRA) said that it had been a few years since the lake was ‘rejuvenated’ by the BDA. “However, we are still waiting for it to be filled with water The lake needs one more round of de-weeding now,” Mr. Pramod said. The number of birds that visited the lake had drastically reduced. “Around 18 different species of birds used to flock the lake but now we hardly see any of them,” he said.
Vibhutipura and Devasandra lakes, too, have not received water despite being rejuvenated.
Srinivas P., who lives near Devasandra lake, said that the water level has always been very low. “Even when water collects during the monsoon, it recedes quickly. The lake is neglected. The authorities have not made proper arrangements for water to freely enter the lake,” he said.
V. Ramprasad, founder and convener of Friends of Lake, said that the agencies responsible for rejuvenation of the lake just concentrate on the beautification and cosmetic changes. “Lakes without water even years after rejuvenation is the result of such flawed and wrong execution of rejuvenation,” he said.
Water retention seems to be a problem at Vidyaranyapura and Chikka Basavanapura lakes. “The lake received a decent amount of water, but it receded quickly,” said a resident near Vidyaranyapura lake.
While civic officials acknowledge the problem, lake activists and experts say that one of the main reasons for this is encroachment of stormwater drains (SWDs).
Nagesh Aras of Friends of Lake said that the BBMP was not doing enough to clear the blocked incoming channels of SWDs to the lake. “Also, since many lakes in the city are interconnected and are dependent on overflow of water, SWDs need to be free from sewage and encroachments,” he said.
According to a survey of lakes by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), around 437 acres out of around 5,207 acres under 169 lakes in the city have been encroached. The BBMP has managed to recover 45 acres.
Mohan Krishna, Chief Engineer, Lakes, BBMP, said that three tahsildar level officers had been appointed as ‘Special Executive Magistrates’ to execute the encroachment drive, but they had still not reported for duty due to COVID-19 related administrative reasons.