How a techie's passion is reviving life of dead lakes around us
September 15th , 2019 | Akshaya Devendra
A mechanical engineer's love for lake
Anand Malligavad, A mechanical engineer by training was a head of Corporate Projects and CSR at an aerospace and engineering firm. On the way to his office, there is this lake called Kyalasanahalli Lake. It was a 36 acre lake which was lying as a waste and barren dumping ground. With the impending water crisis and the drought across the country, Anand decided to take it upon himself and convinced his management to take up the lake for rejuvenation. Before the actual work started, the real work was to get the required approvals from the concerned authorities by running around for nearly 8 months.
Anand being a boy from a small village in the northern Karnataka, used to spend a lot of his time in the lake adjacent to his school. Thus, Lakes formed an important part of his early formative Years. Also, in the meantime, during the approval phase, he visited more than 150 lakes in and around Bangalore city. This helped him understand the lakes better and thus he was able to single handedly study, design and execute the complete lake project. The engineering skills which he acquired during his 18 year professional career helped him immensely to execute the Kyalasanahalli lake rejuvenation project within a record span of 45 days and at a fraction of a cost at which the other stake holders execute
The importance of Water and lakes for our environment
It is a well-known fact that, the real estate value in the Bangalore city is one of the highest in the world. Due to which the lakes have become victim to the infrastructure needs. But, the importance of the lakes cannot be ignored. They are important for water holding, ground water recharge, flood control, Temperature control via Microclimate regulation, pollution control and most importantly for Ecological balance.
The lakes as waste dumping grounds are a nightmare to a city’s health. It is important that lakes should be maintained to prevent ecological and economic collapse. Yes, economies will collapse because without water the cities will go dry and the businesses cannot sustain as observed in Chennai recently. The results of bringing back the dead lakes has already shown a highly positive impact, it has become home to 4 miyawaki forests, forty thousand trees, surrounding 7 villages have benefited with rise in water table and they are able to do farming and importantly they have become an ecological hotspot for more than 50 birds and animal species apart from hundreds of varieties of aquatic species.
An effort turned into world wide campaign
After rejuvenating the first lake, Anand got help from bigger organisations for his other two projects: a 10 acre Vabasandra Lake, and the 16-acre of Konasandra Lake. Konasandra Lake was in a pathetic state, and it was worse than the Bellandur lake. The pollution had altered the water into a toxic gel-like substance. It is now back to its natural state thanks to Anand.
The impact of the three rejuvenated lakes led to the formation of the “the Lake Revivers Collective (LRC)” along with the Better India. This forum helped to crowd fund Anand to turn one more dump yard into a deep step well reservoir lake called Gavi Lake, a 4 acre lake. The funds were received from more than 120+ countries and it became a worldwide awareness campaign. As a result of this, the LRC intends to take up lakes and rejuvenate them across 21 identified cities in India
A vision for a better tomorrow
According to the recent reports, Bangalore is one of the cities in line to be declared as a drought city by the year 2025. The problem with Bangalore city is not the rainfall itself, it’s the rainfall patterns. It still receives about an average 1000mm rainfall a year, but in a short outburst compared to past decades. The city is unable to store and utilize them and most of the rainfall drains out of the city as a waste.
This is largely due to the prevailing conditions of the lakes. The lakes in Bangalore are either encroached, filthy, or have disappeared. If you look at the topography of the city, the water drains in 4 different directions and thus geographically, it can be classified into 4 drainage zones/basins inside the city. Within each basin, there are about 50+ lakes which are interconnected and they drain into a larger lakes or streams.
All the lakes that are rejuvenated so far by Anand and his team are part of the Zone 1 which leads to a 900 acre lake called as the Hennagara Lake. This particular zone has about 45 lakes consisting of 11 streams. Each stream is made up of 4-5 interconnected lakes, all of it drains to the Hennagara Lake.
Thus, our plan is to systematically rejuvenate all the 45 interconnected lakes in zone 1 by 2025 and help Hennagara lake from becoming a yet another Bellandur lake in the city. Isn’t this a more of a common sense and practical to work on the smaller water bodies rather than taking up humongous and capital intensive projects like the Bellandur and Varthur. With this vision is executed successfully, we can help prevent water crisis of at least 25% of the population in Bangalore city.
Our idea is to carry forward our vision, inspire and motivate communities and help them to take lead to process of change.
The author of the story is Akshaya Devendra, An associate of ‘Anand Malligavad’ and you can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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