‘Lakes to support livelihoods of urban poor’

Residents of Mahadevapura are taking activism to the next level by creating a forum to focus on the holistic development of lakes. 

The Mahadevapura Parisara Samrakshane Mattu Abhivrudhi Samiti (MAPSAS) wants to go beyond beautifying lakes and shielding it from pollution by handing back traditional livelihoods of the “urban poor” living in the vicinity of the waterbodies. 

“Cattle-grazing and other livelihoods thrive because of common pool resources like lakes,” said MAPSAS member Dechamma C S. “These are traditional livelihoods that sustained the lakes. They strengthen symbiotic relationships that help communities attain social and ecological resilience. We, therefore, allow local people to utilize the lakes for cattle grazing and firewood collection which doesn’t happen in most other lakes of Bengaluru,” she added. 

This allows locals to take ownership of the lake and voluntarily monitor them, Dechamma said. 

Kaikondrahalli Lake, which is part of the chain of waterbodies further upstream of Sarjapur Road, is an example of the group’s success. Its rejuvenation with the help of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) covers all the important sustainability criteria the group has set for itself. 

The group also decided to spearhead the rejuvenation and maintenance of all the lakes in the chain, including Parappana Agrahara Lake, Kudlu Dodda Kere, Kudlu Chikka Kere, Haralur Lake, Kasavanahalli Lake, Kaikondrahalli Lake and Soulkere. 

Members said the BBMP was forthcoming in its support for the initiative.

“They’re open to our ideas. They take care of the infrastructure aspects like building the STPs, fencing and desilting,” Dechamma said.

The group, which has several lake and environmental experts among its members, gets corporate and community funding.

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