BENGALURU: A public-private-community initiative has saved a lake from sure destruction in south Bengaluru. After five years of combined effort, Uttarahalli Lake is today brimming with rain water and copious inflow of treated sewage water, massive green cover, aquatic life and birds.
There was a time when the lake was choked with weeds, water hyacinth, dumping of solid waste and inflow of sewage and pollutants. However, in 2011, BBMP, in coordination with United Way, Bengaluru (UWBe), took up rejuvenation and development work. Today, the lake’s flora and fauna are thriving.
The 16-acre Uttarahalli Lake was desilted, weeded, cleaned and fenced followed by setting up of a sewage treatment plant and a walkers path on a war-footing. Further, a massive greening project with a theme park was taken up. Regular cleaning drives with active community participation was organised. Community events like Kere Deepotsava and ‘Save the Lake’ campaigns were held to create awareness about lake revival.
Sewage inflow issue
Speaking to Express, BBMP Chief Engineer (Lakes) B V Satish said, “The STP with a capacity to process 500 lakh litres of sewage per day will be upgraded soon.”
Over solid waste entering the lake, the chief engineer added, “We have started removing the debris. People should stop dumping plastic waste in SWDs.”
Mahesh C S, Senior Manager, UWBe, says, “As long the inflow to lakes from rajakaluves is not addressed, the problem will persist.”
Uttarahalli lake is an example of how collaboration among government, NGOs, corporate sector and local communities can result in total rejuvenation of a water body thereby, recharging ground water and bringing back lost biodiversity.
BBMP is planning to launch a pilot project by pumping in pure oxygen wherein the oxygen mixes with the water and reduce the organic matter. One company has come forward for installation of these oxygen aerators, said B V Satish.
Verdant green cover
Once completely barren, the lake area now has 5,000 indigenous and medicinal plants. Ravindra T C of Indus Herbs, with expert guidance from noted environmentalist Yellappa Reddy, is maintaining the green cover of the lake.