Bengaluru: Finally, there's some good news on the lake rejuvenation front. Agara Lake, said to be Bengaluru's oldest lake, will be restored before the onset of monsoon. And the credit for this goes to the 'Agara Lake Protection and Management Society', comprising residents and activists, and the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority.
Like other lakes in the city, the Agara Lake, spread of 98 acres, was in a bad condition. The lake was choked with weeds and a foul smell would emanate due to the inflow of sewage. Four years ago, lake activists along with residents began the fight to restore the lake. And it has paid rich dividends.
Kavita Reddy, lake activist and a member of the society, said two months ago they began the "dewatering process". "We did not waste the water. Rather we used it to water trees and saplings in the lake premises," said Kavita. "The bund in the lake has been raised, as a result the capacity of the lake has been increased from 350 million litres to 850 million litres. Apart from this, the existing rajakaluve (storm water drain) will be free from sewage water. A pipeline will be installed to divert sewage to the STP at Bellandur lake. The treated water will be let into the Bellandur lake."
She further said the lake was restored keeping three concepts in mind. "Agara Lake is dependent on rainwater. So the overflow from Madiwala Lake will flow into the lake through rajakaluve. Apart from this, the BWSSB will install pipes to divert excess treated sewage water from nearby apartments to the lake. The BWSSB will be setting up a sewage treatment plant of 35 MLD capacity. If need be, we will draw about 1MLD water from the STP," said Kavita, adding that they wanted the lake to survive more on rainwater.
Four major inlets and 12 small inlets feed water to the lake. "The unique feature of the lake is tank located in the wetland," said Kavita. "When the water level in the storm-water drain increases, we open the gate (inlets). Before the water enters the lake, silt gets collected in this tank and clean water enters the lake bed."
Vidyasagar, Chief Executive Officer, Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority, said, Rs16-cr was spent on restoring the lake. "Eighty percent of the work will be completed by June, so that lake can be filled with rainwater," said Vidyasagar. The official said "tonnes of silt" was removed and used to build a walking path. "There are two islands in the lake. The height of one island has been increased so that the birds' nests don't submerge during heavy rains. A 'Kalyani' has been built and restrooms will be also built soon. Lights around the lake will run with the help of solar energy," he said.
Kavita also said they would not stop farmers from cutting grass from the wetland. "Farmers and fishermen should have equal right on the lakes. Fishing will also be encouraged as it a means of livelihood," she said.