Four days of downpour in October 2005 has dunked this City at an elevation of 920 meters above sea level under a sheet of swelling run-offs, making it look like Mumbai or New Orleans after the Great Flood.
According to one expert, this has happened as the authorities have worked against Bangalore’s system of lakes, built 468 years ago by founding father Kempegowda, and consolidated later by the British with a drainage system. While the history books say that there were 400 lakes and tanks, today this has dwindled to 64 as the City has allowed layouts to be built on these water bodies, said Arun Prasad, a researcher on Bangalore’s heritage.
So when it pours, drains overflow and the water has nowhere to go. He said that remodeling the City’s crumbling drains is the only solution to waterlogging. “There is so much to learn from our fore-rulers. The great Kempegowda, a local chieftain who architectured a new flanked township called Bengaluru, proved to be a master planner,” said Prasad.
As Arkavathy, the only river nearby, was some distance away, Kempegowda began his township by building lakes like Ulsoor, Dharmabudhi, Kempambundi and Karnaja to provide drinking water. With Bangalore Cantonment coming up in 1806, a twin city of Bangalore grew in a planned manner with the maintenance and restoration of lakes. “They (British) imported a special variety of fish and left them in the lakes,” the researcher said.
Miller’s Tank was a huge area of three lakes. Today it accommodates hospitals and IT companies. The lakes were connected to Sankey Tank. When Sankey overflowed, water used to flow into Miller’s tanks. The Lalbagh Botanical Garden was the brainchild of Haider Ali. The contribution of the Wodeyars was also significant. The expansion that occurred since the 1980s has made the City vulnerable to devastation. But it still has an opportunity to be remodeled to symbolize a new beginning for a new India.
United Way Bengaluru has been doing a commendable job in restoring lakes by working with other groups and local authorities.
There are several lakes in Bangalore. The notable once are,
Ulsoor Lake – Located in Halasuru near M G Road. It is one of the biggest lakes in the city.It is spread over 126 acres and has several islands.The present lake was created by Sir Lewin Bentham Bowring. Boat training facility of Madras Engineering Group is also present there. Facilities for boating, park, children’s play area, fountains, Ganesha Chaturthi immersion place.
Sankey Tank – Renovated lately. Sankey Lake is the ideal weekend retreat for tourists visiting Bangalore or for citizens desiring a break from the routine tedium of everyday life. It is located in the middle of the suburbs of Malleshwaram, Vyalikaval and Sadashiva Nagar. The lake is spread across 37.1 acres.This tank was created by Col. Richard E. Sankey of the Madras Sappers Regiment. Sankey Tank offers it all, be it sightseeing, or a picnic or a pleasant boat ride.
The lake is surrounded by brightly coloured benches, where you can relax sitting by the beautiful lake.An undertaking of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, the Mayura Sankey Boat Club is equipped with abundant rowboats, pedal boats and motorboats.
Madiwala Lake – Madiwala lake is one of the biggest lakes is now brimming with crystal clear water. It is situated in BTM layout. Recently forest department has started Boating service also. The lake spreads over 276.8 acres with an island sporting bamboo bushes at the center attracts rare birds during the post monsoon season. There is also a beautiful park with a nice children’s play area.
Puttenahalli WS Lake – Located in Yelahanka.It is spread over 24.71 acres.It may soon become the first Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka. Biodiversity experts have discovered 49 species of birds breeding here. Puttenahalli Yelahanka Lake is prominent because more than 7,000 birds can be sighted during the breedingseason.
Hebbal Lake – Located in Hebbal.The area is basically a picnic spot.It is spread over 185 acres created by Kempa Gowda.The place is covered with greenery. The beauty of the lake is at odds with its chaotic urban milieu. It is a popular hangout zone, frequented by tourists and local residents alike. Families, tourists and couples can also opt for boating trips in the evening that give them the opportunity to explore the lakes.
Agara Lake – Lying between bustling Koramangala and H.S.R. Layout in South Bangalore, Agara lake is a picture of tranquility. Its 97.80 acres of greenery and water, which attract a variety of birds, make it valuable lung space that many area residents cherish. It’s lovely going there for walks and bird watching.
Kengeri Lake – Located far away from the city on Mysore Road.Kengeri lake, also known as Doddakere. There is also a boating facility with a very few boats.
Vengaihnakere Lake – Located in KR Puram it is also called Fantasy Lagoon. It is another boating destination. The lake has a beautiful surrounding. You also have a range of boating facility here. There is also a very good play area for the children.
Nagavara lake – Lumbini Gardens on the Nagawara lake front near Hebbal is an exclusive boating and leisure complex with a variety of entertainment activities introduced for the first time in Bangalore.There is also a water-skiing device for thrill seekers, alongside an exclusive speedboat. There are a variety of activities catering to children who can enjoy swings, Spanish bullfights and the like. Food courts and restaurants are also a part of this affair.
Bellandur Lake – is the largest lake in Bangalore city and its surroundings, spread over an area of 950 acres of land. It was once used by the villagers for swimming and other recreational activities. Bellandur Lake water is used for agriculture purpose. It extends to a length of 361.3 hectare and has a breath of 3.6 Km.
Hesaraghatta Lake – is a man made reservoir located 18 km to the northeast of Bangalore. It is a fresh water lake created in the year 1894 across the Arkavathy River to meet the drinking water needs of the city.
The Forest department has come up with a plan to secure and develop the lakes in the city. The action plan covers 57 lakes presently and has been drawn up to the years 2008 to 2011.
Integrated development of the lake includes removal of silt, improvement of water holding capacity, strengthening the bund, removing encroachments, providing fencing, creating a jogging path all around the lake, recreation facilities like a small garden, planting in the forest shore area, creating islands for birds to breed, providing boating facility if possible.
Tanks developed by Forest Department
According to the plan dried tanks will be converted into tree parks. It has been proposed to take up foreshore planting over 300 hectares in the year 2009. 200 hectares in 2009-2010 and 100 hectares in 2010-2011. The cost of foreshore planting for one hectare costs Rs 60 thousand.
They also have a plan which include
Documentation of status of lakes
Boundary demarcation – this will include conducting a survey of the lakes, fixing of name boards and fencing