The first of its kind, this is an initiative by Citizens of Sankey and Bengaluru Praja Vedike to preserve and manage lakes of Bengaluru. The event mainly had two presentations by experts followed by a panel discussion.
Topic of discussion: The gaps in lake management & preservation, actionable solutions.
Date & time: 19th August 2023 from 10 AM to 1.30 PM
Venue: Seva Sadana, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru
Speakers & Panelists:
(Prof) Dr T V Ramachandra, IISc
Dr U V Singh, IFS(R)
Prof Rajeev Gowda - ex-MP & Academician
Mukund Namagundlu - Civic Activist
Smaran Shetty - Environmental Lawyer
Preeti Gehlot - Special Commissioner for Lakes, Bengaluru
Vasanthi Hariprakash - Moderator
The discussion had two parts - a presentation by Prof Dr TV Ramachandra and Dr U V Singh and a panel discussion with the experts.
Key takeaways from Prof T V Ramachandra’s presentation:
Currently, Bengaluru has 193 lakes and less than 4% tree cover
An unpolluted lake generates a revenue of around Rs.10,500/day/hectare, while a polluted lake only generates Rs.20/day/hectare. Eg- Amruthahalli Lake
Groundwater table & lakes: Removal of lakes decreases the groundwater level from 600’ to 80-100’ while the presence of a lake increases the groundwater table from 800’ to 350’ a year (Sarakki Kere)
Lack of understanding of lakes
No scientific rejuvenation - Emphasis on civic recreational work rather than eco-restoration; in the name of remodeling, there is only concretisation
Lack of proper solid waste management
Unscientific rainwater storms
Distribution of pollution (biomagnification) through fishes, vegetables etc
Reuse and recycle wastewater
Compulsory tertiary treatment of wastewater before releasing into lakes.
A successful case study - Revival of Jakkur lake - around 300 wells around Jakkur were revived, and none tested positive for nitrogen and phosphorus.
Mini forest in each ward - a self-sustaining system around the lake
Proper rainwater harvesting set-up can solve most of the water scarcity problem of Bengaluru.
Increase in environmental literacy involving the public and the youth.
Key takeaways from Dr U V Singh’s presentation:
Recommendations for lake conservation (administrative measures):
Inventory of all tanks (live and proposed lakes ) in Bengaluru
Invoking Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Act, 2014
Appointment of Chief Executive Officer by amending KTCDA Act
Appointment of authorized officers, required staff and planning regular meetings with them
No development of any lake or tank until an STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) is set up for the lake.
Key takeaways from the panel discussion:
- Retain the lake as a part of the environment rather than making it human-centric. Maintain the integrity of lakes by considering the physical (less concretisation) and chemical (not releasing industrial effluents) components of the lake.
- Propose a dedicated website for lakes in Bengaluru that includes a list of live lakes, encroachments, recreational activities, etc.
- Establish a structured Community Participation Forum for each lake that includes the following:
Involve a group of 10 people around the lake as the members of this Forum; maintaining the lake and the website should be their responsibility.
Train the members effectively and arrange informative sessions by experts
The community should have one government representative to smoothen the legal functioning
Revenue from the lake should be recorded and updated on the website regularly
Declare all lakes as heritage sites to prevent any type of encroachments
- The committee meetings should compulsorily involve representatives from the public. Also, EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) reports should be more scientific and transparent
- Environmental education should be made compulsory for all governmental employees, Politicians, private players and academicians to create awareness
Blog written by, Apeksha Deshpande