Urbanisation has had severe adverse effects on Bengaluru’s lakes, so much so that only 17 lakes now exist in the heart of the city as opposed to 51 in 1985.
Even these are in a state of deterioration, thanks to encroachment and construction activity for urban infrastructure expansion.
According to a study, the water bodies of the city have reduced from 3.40 per cent in 1973 to just about 1.47 per cent in 2005. There’s been reduced precipitation, as the lake spaces have turned into constructed areas. Even sanctuaries for birds have been lost, among other things.
At a time like this, a group called United Way Bengaluru has pledged to revive the city’s water bodies and turn them into community-nurtured spaces. Through their campaign called Wake The Lake, which started in 2009, they want to revive the city’s dying lakes and bring together the civic bodies, corporates and citizens to reclaim the local lakes and improve the quality of water.
Their goal is to restore the water quality of the city’s lakes by removing garbage and effluents from them and making them pollution-free.
Also, by creating a microclimate in and around the lakes, they will revive the eco-system.
They have currently managed to revive 16 lakes in the city, through both direct and indirect intervention. These 16 lakes include: Munnekolalu, Kaikondranahalli, Saulkere, Kaudenahalli, Devsandra, Kundalahalli, Uttarahalli, Chinnapanahalli, Ulsoor, Rachenahalli, Seegehalli, Mahadevapura, Dasarahalli, Dodda Kudulu, Yellahanka and Sheelavanta.
Talking about how they were able to do this, Manish Michael, CEO, UWB, told The Better India, “We spread awareness on preservation of lakes, mobilised local community members and corporates in the neighbourhood to contribute CSR funds to undertake activities. These included enhancement of biodiversity, setting up Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) and awareness activities. We also engaged subject matter specialists to advise us on every step.”
They’ve managed to put in their efforts through volunteers, government agencies and corporate partners.
Every lake that they revive is assessed on parameters that measure the lake’s ‘community-friendly’ index. They do this using a Lake Scoresheet. This helps them evaluate how successful their initiative has been.
Talking about their next step, he said, “Now that we have mastered our model, we would like to scale up the Wake The Lake campaign in the semi-urban areas.”
Know more about their initiative here.