The Kannamangala lake is spread over 18 acres. It been the life line of Kannamangala, Seegehalli and Doddabhanahalli and has served the panchayats as a major source of water body to the entire community totalling a population that exceeds 25,000. The 3 panchayaths belong to the greater Whitefield area of Bangalore. .
Speaking to village residents, it is come to be known of being critical drinking water source and important for the local economy.
Farmers relied on lake for their agricultural produce like paddy,corn, vegetables, and other crops. Water from the lakes was used for domestic needs as well.
The lake was neglected and exploited over several decades with indiscriminate release of sewage from surrounding villages,lack of desilting . In addition it became an area for dumping and burning garbage.
During summer the ground water levels drop as low as 1000 ft to get water through sources.
It all started from a temple (Shri Vishnu Temple ) visit close to the Lake by Lingaraj Urs, Ravi, Papanna , Narayanaswamy & their friends who had decided to start Yoga sessions within the temple premises .
As they spent some time in the premises finalizing the schedule and other details ,they felt something in the air isn’t right and could smell a bad odour that was filled. Even before they could think ,they realized its from the lake.
The degradation of the lake and surrounding area had given rise to an unhealthy practice of dumping the garbage & solid waste for a long period from Kannamangala and Seegehalli.
The toxicity created by garbage had contaminated groundwater, impacted agricultural produce and had given rise to skin diseases,lead to fly menace and release of toxic gases.
Regular burning of garbage added to the menace and deteriorated the quality of air.
Next Panchayat meeting, the Kannamangala lake topic was discussed. All Panchayat members agreed to conserve and rejuvenate and bring back the lake’s existence.
The next day morning an inspection was conducted to analyze the damage caused to the lake & its surrounding area.
The outcome was shocking. Now the question was how to repair the damage caused? A step by step plan was laid out by bringing in experts and taking their guidance.
Firstly a lake survey was carried out as per the Govt records and to our surprise 40% of the lake property was encroached of the 18 acres & 28 guntas .
Team took this up with the farmers who had encroached into the lake area and to our surprise we didn’t find much resistance ,infact by now they had suffered the menace and understood the value of lake revival and cooperated by joining our movement. Within no time they surrendered the intruded portion back to the authorities.
Dedicated and determined team was formed with clear roles & responsibilities. The team started working on demarcation of the lake boundary by using village maps from Tehsildar’s Office and remote sensed the maps. Application was submitted at Gram Panchayat office.
The boundary of the lake on the eastern and northern side was defined. Similarly, the outer margins of the lake outside the Main Bund on the southern side was fixed.
MLA Shri Arvind Limbavali was overwhelmed with the progress and cooperation of the village community and wholeheartedly supported the cause.
As per his direction and Tahashildar’s involvement the survey was completed and the entire boundary fence was marked and the rejuvenation work started.
As the preparation for work started we received good support from BBMP in this exercise .The big challenge ahead of us was to clear the garbage mound 30 feet tall and nearly 6 feet below the ground.
Specialized equipment had to be brought into to ensure the waste gets removed without damaging further . It nearly took the team three months to remove 400 tons of mixed waste garbage with the support of BBMP Mahadevapura to ensure that its properly disposed and doesn’t get into landfill again.
Work had to be conducted late at nights to avoid inconvenience to the villagers
The entire exercise to get the waste cleared took close to 6 months including the sludge that had to be removed.
Today, the lake can hold up to 9 crore litres of water. Water tested in the lab have revealed a significant jump in quality of water to permissible levels. Groundwater levels which had gone down to 1,000 feet have now surged to 400 to 500 feet which marks a considerable improvement.
Every weekends meetings were conducted to review progress with the core team of volunteers followed by actions.
With the size and scale of the project ,we needed additional support . The idea of engaging the neighbourhood communities to support the endeavour was mooted and we received overwhelming support and contribution to the revival & rejuvenation.
Nearby communities started actively participating apart from Welfare association several individuals came forward and donated to this cause.
We had many corporates as part of their CSR engaging and contributing to the activities. We had our own MLA Shri Arvind Limbavali and MP P C Mohan have who have donated generously to the cause.
Lake is getting back to life with flora & fauna starting to flourish . Vettiver planted to hold the banks of the lake is showing good proliferation across. Miyawaki forests executed are thriving ,we see all the species (about 2500-3500) growing rapidly.
The entire fencing & pathway is completed
Good progress on the steel bridge and the treatment plant thanks to United way Bengaluru , NGO, is working on this lake now.
A beautiful sunday morning sitting at our meeting adda, below the Banyan tree, breathing fresh air we all were in deep discussion about the development of the lake. Our favourite “Motappa” around 70 years old young man, visited us with a beautiful smile, telling us the story about the Banyan tree. This was planted by his uncle and he grew up with his friends playing around the Banyan tree.
Another interesting fact he mentioned is that the “Kannamangala kere” was earlier known as “Mullukere“.
Our heartfelt thanks to Motappa for sharing his memories with us , our eyes look for him whenever we visit the lake.
The banks of the lake is planted with Vettiver . The advantage of the plant is its roots are fibrous and go 10ft deep in soil and holds it very tight. This stops erosion due to rain runoff. This plant has few special characteristics which makes it a good plant for lake banks. To be environmental friendly, vettiver is used on the banks instead of stone pitching.
We have planned 2 Miyawaki forest on east and west side of the lake .
Miyawaki is a technique pioneered by Japanese that helps build dense, native forests. The approach is to ensure that plant growth is 10 times faster and the resulting plantation is 30 times denser than usual. It involves planting dozens of native species in the same area. For more info https://www.saytrees.org/