At a time when 'World Water Day' was observed on Thursday, to highlight the importance of freshwater and to advocate sustainable management of water resources, it has to be noted that a number of lakes developed by the erstwhile Mysuru kings in the districts have vanished due to the insatiable greed of the land mafia.
The lakes are slowly disappearing, turning into layouts, due to encroachment. The Wadiyar kings had constructed hundreds of lakes in the district and had planned them in such a way that if one lake fills, it flows to the next, into smaller ones. If Konanahalli and Chikkamandya lakes in Mandya taluk were filled, the excess water would flow into many smaller lakes. Similarly, Palakere in Nagamangala taluk, Soolekere in Maddur taluk, Malavalli lake, Menasu lake in K R Pet taluk, used to fill many smaller ones. With most of the lakes being encroached upon, their sizes have reduced, resulting in depletion of watertable.
Water shortage is said to be the main reason for the Mysugar factory stopping production. Water was supplied to the factory from Chikkamandya lake. As the lake disappeared, it became difficult to supply water. Now, the factory gets water only if Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam gets filled. The borewells too have totally dried up, said farmer leader K Boraiah.
'Chikkamandya Kere', on Nagamangala Road, measuring 430 acres, used to irrigate thousands of acres of lands earlier. With the spread of the real estate mafia, Vivekananda Layout and a layout developed by Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) have shrunk the lake.
Raitha Sangha district president Shambunahalli Suresh said, the Chikkamandya lake is now identified only on maps as the whole region has been concretised. Both the layouts get inundated when it rains, he said.
The sub-canal of the Visvesvaraya Canal that passes through various layouts in the city has turned into a drainage. When water is released from KRS dam into the Visvesvaraya Canal, it flows through the sub-canals at several layouts like Marigwoda Layout, Annapurneshwari Nagar, Chamundeshwari Nagar and reaches Cheeranahalli. However, drainage water from the houses in these areas is released into the canal. When there is no water flow, the canal stinks.
M Yogesh of the Water Consumers Association said, the people lack water literacy. It is sad that the canal has turned into a drainage. Several awareness programmes have been conducted, but the people continue to release drainage water, he said.