BENGALURU: The rains that battered Bengaluru in the past three weeks have left the city devastated. The one good thing that could have come out of it, was that the lakes would have collected 3.06 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water from the thunderstorms. However, that was not to be, as over 90 per cent of these lakes are filled with silt, causing them to overflow or get breached rather than collect the water.
In spite of the state spending hundreds of crores of rupees to desilt Bengaluru lakes, the average impounding capacity of the lakes has remained a paltry 0.5 tmcft. About 90 per cent of the lakes in the three main regions of Hebbal, Koramangala - Challaghatta and Vrishabhavati either overflowed or breached as they could not hold the water after the heavy rains.
Prof T V Ramachandra, Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre of Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) told Express that the catchment yield was nearly 86.6 Million Cubic meters or 3.06 tmcft between August 18 and September 7.
He added: “As our lakes are filled with silt (and slush), most of the water has moved towards Tamilnadu. Due to constant mismanagement, rain water in the Cauvery catchment is flowing into the ocean. Moreover, there have been moves to divert Western Ghats rivers (Yettinahole, Netravathi, Linganamakki), spending over `1,000 crore for each plan.
Rejuvenation of lakes will cost only a fraction of the money wasted for large scale projects.” BBMP Executive Engineer (lakes) K V Ravi told Express that this is the first time after a decade that the lakes in BBMP custody had been filled while 14 were overflowing. The Executive Engineer (EE) added, “However, in the last few days, the city’s groundwater would be recharged in areas around the lakes. ”
Some lakes desilted: BDA
However, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) officials claimed that a lot of work has been done to desilt lakes in their custody. Moreover, issues of encroachment and setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs) and lack of funds had delayed the development of lakes. Prof Ramachandra said: “Six or seven lakes have been desilted, the rest remain.
If we have to impound rain water. Jakkur Lake is a successful model to be replicated but alas! The government does not listen. But do you need `3 crore to desilt a lake? Desilting without an STP is no good. Bloated bills, inefficiency, lack of a policy and accountability stare at us.”