Drive to restore Jakkur Lake wins praise

A view of the Jakkur Lake. (Credit: DH)

The citizen-driven initiative to restore the Jakkur Lake and revive its ecosystem has won the recognition of the Central Groundwater Board, which decided to publicise the work.

The Jakkur initiative was one of the 13 success stories the board has published in its report to create awareness on groundwater conservation, even as governments struggle to meet the burgeoning demand for water.

The board released the report at a workshop on ‘community participation in groundwater management’, which it organised.

The lake was the chief livelihood source for four villages. It supported agriculture, fishery and animal husbandry, besides providing water for washerfolk. The silt from the lakebed during summer offered fertile soil for the farmland.

The lake’s destruction began with massive urbanisation, as the surrounding areas — part of the 110 villages — was absorbed into the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.

The fact that money alone cannot save the lake became apparent as the Bangalore Development Authority could not restore the waterbody despite spending Rs 13 crore.

The report noted that citizens came together to form the Jala Poshan Trust, which started with some minor cleaning before embarking on the total rejuvenation of the lake.

“The Jakkur Lake is a part of a lake series,” the report said. “As the lakes are connected, their problems are connected, too. Hence, one cannot work in silo and need to conserve the lake chain to protect the individual lakes.” 

The board stressed the need to preserve waterbodies like the Yelahanka, Allasandra, Kogilu lakes in the north; Agrahara lake in the east; and Shivanahalli lake in the west, besides pushing for more projects where the public play an active role in saving the local ecology. 

Many reports, one story

The Central Groundwater Board report also throws light on the fluoride and nitrate contamination of groundwater, likely to worsen in the coming
days.

State and central government officials underlined the need for demand-side management of water supply, rather than merely focusing on what people want.

Board chairman K C Naik and minor irrigation secretary C Mruthyunjaya Swamy said it was time to employ technology to regulate water usage.

“Farmers in the un-irrigated areas have been getting far less water compared to water given to people in the command area. Consequently, the latter spend very less even as they consume more,” Swamy said, asking for policy changes.

P C Mohan, Bangalore Central MP, said water is becoming an electoral issue, as it is one of the demands leaders are struggling to meet.

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