In shocking findings for the water-deficient IT city, 36 lakes, tanks and ponds have vanished without a trace in three hoblis of western Bangalore since 1973. The water area has been halved in the remaining 81 bodies and 48 of them have major encroachments.
The findings are part of a year-long study conducted by state-funded Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI). It has only looked at a 78 sqkm area in the hoblis of Yeshwantpur, Kengeri and Tavarekere. The rest of the city has not been covered.
One of the worst examples of encroachment is the Kanalli lake, where the water area has decreased by around 75 per cent.
“There are encroachments all over the city. But no surveys have been done in the other regions. Bellandur and Nakkundi lakes in Bangalore-East are visibly encroached. It needs political will to take action on these,” former environment and ecology secretary A N Yellappa Reddy told Express.
Of the 81 existing water bodies, 39 are perennial and 42 are seasonal. Six perennial lakes have already been rejuvenated, while another is being revived.
The study was funded by the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning (CiSTUP). They relied on old land records with the Revenue Department to identify water bodies that have become extinct.
CiSTUP chairman T G Sitharam said, “We did not even know about the existence of some of the water bodies mentioned in the report till we got it. It is sad that we have ignored these water bodies despite the fact that Bangalore was heavily dependent on them till recently as the city does not have reliable perennial water sources.”