If you were to visit the 55-acre Kowdenahalli Lake in Bengaluru some ten years ago, you wouldn’t believe the visual treat your eyes see in 2017.
Once a deserted swamp with murky water, the lake has now been restored to its full glory with a variety of local and migratory birds, various fish species and reptiles, medicinal plants and fruit-bearing trees gracing its ecosystem.
This vision of restoring the lake could only be recognised due to the ‘Wake the Lake’ campaign under the flagship of the United Way Bengaluru to revive the Garden City’s dying lakes in association with civic bodies, corporates and citizens.
The idea behind the campaign is to reclaim the local lakes and bring about community ownership through active volunteerism.
As part of the initiative, they have not only successfully freed the lake from garbage, effluents and other pollutants but also restored the water quality, revived the ecosystem in and around the lake by creating a conducive climate for aquatic flora and fauna.
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Under the initiative, while United Way mobilises the local volunteers and corporate volunteers, Government agencies engage them closely in the implementation and also seek their intervention when required. They also take the responsibility of sharing the progress of the program.
The corporate partners do their bit through Corporate Social Responsibility contributions, supplying volunteers and educating them about the best practices to adopt for the success of the campaign.
Each revived lake is assessed on parameters that measure the lake’s ‘community-friendly’ index. This scorecard helps them evaluate the success of the initiative and chart out the next steps.
This specific lake rejuvenation project is being led by C Narayanappa, president of the KR Puram Lake and Environment Protection Trust.
He hopes that all the efforts put into the rejuvenation of the lake – from arranging local MLA funds to driving community efforts on the ground through cleanliness and plantation – becomes a model for citizen participation in lake restoration.
Speaking to the Times of India, he said, “The community has registered itself as a trust, and we have got Rs 1.2 crore sanctioned from the MLA’s fund for developmental works. As of now, there is a gravel pathway lined up with LED streetlights, toilets, gazebos and benches. But soon there will be an open gym, yoga space and a children’s park. We also allow contractual fishing as fish ensure cleanliness of the water and also draws birds to feed on them.”
The campaign has successfully helped revive over 16 lakes in the city including Munnekolalu, Kaikondranahalli, Saulkere, Kaudenahalli, Devsandra, Kundalahalli, Uttarahalli, Chinnapanahalli, Ulsoor, Rachenahalli, Seegehalli, Mahadevapura, Dasarahalli, Dodda Kudulu, Yellahanka and Sheelavanta.