There are many expectations from the new government and developing lakes is one of them; with many residential associations and activists demanding their revival. According to many activists, the city, which was once gifted with 400 lakes during the reign of Kempegowda, is today left with just 40 lakes which are polluted. These lakes, which were mostly constructed in sixteenth century by damming the natural valley systems and by constructing bunds, will no more be found in the city if Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike do not take any measure to revive them. Increasing population, urbanisation and negligence towards restoring these lakes will lead to water wars in every nook and cranny of the city, they state.
Lakes which were storage tanks of fresh water for the agriculturists in its vicinity like Jaraganahalli lake, Vengaihnakere, Kempambudhi Lake, Mattikere, Uttarahalli lake, Agara Lake, etc. are nothing but contaminated bodies of water today due to constant flow of sewage water. Many lakes like Shoolay lake, Akkithimmanahalli lake, Sampangi lake, Kadugondanahalli lake and others have been turned into shopping complexes, colleges, markets, bus stations, apartments, etc.
Residents in the vicinity of these polluted lakes complain about debris, garbage and foul stench. The lakes which once attracted many migratory birds from across the country and the globe, are now home to piles of garbage.
Jayanth Gowda, a resident near Mattikere said, “The lakes are endangered as their banks have been encroached upon by by the real estate developers and slums in many areas of the city. The lakes are stinking here due to the landfills.” Though the authorities have taken up developmental activity in some of the lakes like Dore Kere, Sankey tank and others, many environmentalists believe that rejuvenation activities have to take place in the lakes which are the main water bodies for residents residing in the nearby localities. Speaking about Madiwala lake, environmentalist Yellappa Reddy said, “The condition of the lake has deteriorated tremendously over the years. The habitat of the birds too has been destroyed. Restoring the lake recharges the borewells in the vicinity and residents will get clean water.”
The authorities in charge of BDA constantly play a blame game when asked about the restoration of lakes. Speaking about the encroachment of lakes, superintending engineer of BDA said, “The tehasildhar has to survey the lake. Once the survey is conducted, action will be taken against the encroachments.”