Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When fish die

The fish in our lake do not belong to us. They are Yellappa's, the fisherman who has got the fishing contract from the Fisheries Dept. Nevertheless, we began to worry about the fish as soon as summer started. The water level was dropping alarmingly. We worried that the evaporation would deplete dissolved oxygen in the water. How then will the fish survive? Another new concern was the sudden rain. You might well ask why the concern when it will bring up the water level? True and it did but the sudden inflow also affected the temperature of the water. Even subtle changes would have a huge impact on the fish. This is why they need to be introduced very gradually into an aquarium. To add to our worry, a sewage chamber collapsed on Sat. 17 March. As soon as we got to know this, we contacted BWSSB. Within a couple of hours, they repaired the chamber. But how much sewage had entered the lake by then and how much damage had been done to the water?

Sewage chamber overflowing, 17th March 2018

Yesterday morning we saw several dead fish in the water. Today their number is more. Yellappa says he lost about 1000 kgs of fish. Since each one is big and heavy, the number may not seem high but the death of even a fingerling hurts us. 

Dead fish, 19th March 2018

According to the Fisheries dept, the only preventive measure is to install an aerator and increase the DO. We shall do that as well and hope that we never see a dead fish in the lake ever again! It traumatises us no end!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lakes out of bounds for people! Crippling amendments to Tank Development Act

On 23rd February, the state government passed amendments to the Tank Development Act transferring all lakes to the Minor Irrigation Department (MID). It repeals the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Act which had provided for active community participation. 

To add insult to injury, the amendments were adopted with sparse attendance in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday 22nd Feb. 2018 and passed the next day, on 23rd Feb., in the Legislative Council in haste, without any discussion or debate.

We are various citizen groups across Bengaluru who for the past several years have been deeply involved in the restoration, protection and preservation of the water bodies in our respective localities. We know  from experience that public participation is vital to the nurturing water bodies. 

Mismanagement by the authorities over the years caused the extinction of hundreds of lakes in the city. We cannot allow them to finish off the few surviving ones. We have formally appealed to the Hon'ble Governor to return the amendments bill. Please join us by signing this online petition

Thank you, 

Friday, February 23, 2018

What's in a name? Plenty unfortunately!

The Bard made Juliet ask Romeo, 
"What's in a name?" She went on to answer herself "That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet ..."

Little did Shakespeare know what problems a name can cause! Our little 13 acre lake is called Puttenahalli. So is the 31 acre one in Yelahanka! To compound matters, the one in Sarakki is also occasionally and mistakenly called Puttenahalli. Three lakes with the same name is two more than necessary. Truly confusion worse confounded. 

As if our struggle to nurture our little "Puttenahalli Puttakere" as it was earlier called, is not enough, we are constantly explaining this name jumble to people. We can do this with individuals but how do we address this issue when the mistake occurs in the newspaper? Those few reporters who are aware of this, are careful in specifying which one by writing "Puttenahalli Yelahanka" or "Puttenahalli, J.P. Nagar" (which will still clash with the Sarakki lake but this cannot be helped). If, however, they do not give precise direction to the photographer, then it is very likely that a photograph of our lake will accompany the report on Sarakki or Puttenahalli Yelahanka lakes! This is perhaps what happened in the report which has appeared in The Times of India today. 

Do we change the name of our lake? Will it help at all since it appears that our lake is so "well known" that any mention of Puttenahalli, it is ours that rises to the mind? Please give your suggestions on how to resolve this name muddle once and for all. We are fed up of explaining which lake is being referred to orally or in print. 

Since the report in today's newspaper is based on KSPCB data, we would like to add that we continue to feed our lake with the surplus treated water from the STP of an apartment complex. This was a pilot project approved by KSPCB in May 2015 which has led to our Puttenahalli thriving and teeming with fish. It doesn't stink either. These are enough indicators to reassure us that our lake is in good health. If you will believe only what you see, then please visit our lake - Puttenahalli, J.P. Nagar 7th Phase next to Samskruthi Brindavana and MLR Convention Hall. 


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Will Bangalore run out of water?

A recent article on the BBC website listed 11 cities worldwide, most likely to run out of drinking water, like what has already happened at Cape Town (South Africa). The article can be read here. Sao Paulo (Brazil) is at No. 1, and Bangalore is at number 2. 

Mr Vishwanath, one of Bangalore's water experts has written a rejoinder article that can be read here, explaining why Bangalore is unlikely to go dry as predicted. While it is comforting to read, we cannot afford to be complacent or indifferent. Water scarcity is real, frightening and imminent if we do not act, not just in Bangalore, but wherever we live.  

Harvest rainfall. Save water. Save lakes!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Science Carnival @ Puttenahalli Lake this Sunday


Merry Go Learn, JP Nagar is back at our lake with a bang!! 

This time they are planning a Science Carnival where kids can have hands on experience on various experiments. 

Come and see the magic of science at the stalls managed by the students of Merry Go Learn.

Venue: Puttenahalli Lake
Date: Sunday, 11th Feb 2018
Time : 3 P.M. onwards

Friday, February 2, 2018

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day  is celebrated on 2nd February each year in order to raise public attention on the vital role wetlands play in reducing flooding, absorbing excess water, supporting life organisms, improving the water quality, etc. 

Unaware and indifferent to this, wetlands especially in urban areas are considered as waste land that can be built upon. The theme for this year is 'Wetlands for a sustainable urban future."

We look back at the wetland in our lake. Given that the water area is only 10 acres, the wetland is less than an acre. It is separated from the main body with a line of boulders about 7 ft high. Four rainwater  inlets and an STP line are located in the wetland. 

For several years we tried to avoid looking at the wetland simply because we didn't know how to maintain it. It was overgrown, littered with all sorts of stuff, some of which entered with rain water and the rest thrown in by an indifferent public. But closing one's eyes or ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away, does it? Towards the end of 2016, we decided to revamp the wetland. You can read about our project here.

The photographs show the evolution of the wetland in our Puttenahalli Lake from 2010. 

Creating the wetland, June 2010

The wetland in August 2015

The wetland in May 2016

The wetland in Jan 2018

No marks for guessing which is now our favourite spot at the lake!
Spare a thought to water, to wetlands!



Friday, January 26, 2018

Republic Day Greetings

Warm greetings on the occasion of our Republic Day!

As custodians of the Puttenahalli Lake, we are grateful for getting an opportunity to do our bit for society and towards conservation. The result of our endeavour over the past few years to bring a dead lake back to life is seen partly in this video of fishermen at the lake, and the photographs.

Fishermen at Puttenahalli Lake

Pelican competing with the fishermen

Do visit the lake, where you can see for yourself. 

Best regards,
PNLIT team

Video and photos: Madhurima Das

Monday, January 22, 2018

Report on the two exciting events at the lake on 20th and 21st January

It was a hectic but delightful weekend at the Puttenahalli Lake. 

On Sat. 20th Jan Mr. S.K. Srinivas led a group of 12 participants through the intricacies of photography. It included a class in the Gazebo which we had darkened with curtains to facilitate better viewing of his PPT. 

Srinivas' photography class

Participants asked questions, cleared doubts, showed the pictures they had clicked, etc. Time flew and the scheduled two hours extended to three and more. Everyone welcomed his ideas of a day long photo walk and forming a group so that their learning could continue. 

Some of the photography class participants

Meanwhile, we received email requests from others unable to attend this workshop for another one to be arranged soon. Well, if there are enough participants, we will be happy to do so. Please email if you are interested. 

Thanks to photographers like Srinivas, Madhurima, Vishnupriya and others who visit our lake every so often with their cameras, even our gardeners have begun to take photos with their mobiles. One taken by Ramu in Nov. 2017 of chicks in a nest is below.  Exposure matters, not just in photography but also in moulding a person. 

Chicks (Pic: Ramu)

The Foto Fundas workshop was followed by the release of Discover Garden Climbers written by Mr. T.S.Srinivasa on Sunday 21st Jan. Our Guest of Honour was Mr. Vijay Thiruvady, a naturalist and authority on trees. He was full of praise for the book which he felt was the perfect guidebook for climbers. Mr. Srinivasa explained the technicalities of bringing out a pocket sized guide, the constraints of limited number of pages (168) and words (200) for each specimen, choosing the climbers (65) and so on. 

Mr. Thiruvady's knowledge is so deep and vast that we could only sit and listen with awe. The author, Mr. T.S. Srinivas added his reminiscences of a childhood spent in spotting birds, insects and, of course trees, shrubs and grasses. Mr. Karthikeyan whose photographs add visual beauty to the book spoke briefly about his volume called Discover Avenue Trees. What a magical world of flora they presented!

TS Srinivasa and Vijay Thiruvady

TS Srinivasa inspecting a specimen at the lake

The small but engrossed audience had questions in plenty for the experts. The Q & A went on for so long that we had to announce that we were wrapping up. It was becoming dark and we had another chore for Mr. Thiruvady and Mr. Srinivasa - inaugurate the naming of the trees in our lake by hanging a board on two trees. The trees chosen were a Badminton Ball (Parkia biglandulosa) and a Big-leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). 

Mr. Thiruvady directed attention to the fluffy flower head of the Badminton Ball. Mr. Srinivasa mentioned the nocturnal pollination by nectar feeding bats. As if to prove his point, a couple of bats swooped and hid themselves among the leaves. We added a little bit of personal history about the tree - it was planted in Sept. 2010 by PNLIT Trustee Arathi's grandmother on her 90th birthday.  

Mrs. Ramachandran from Rajalakshmi Apartments summed up our weekend events aptly: "These events bring like minded and lay people together and they bind people." 

It is indeed to bring the neighbourhood together and to spread awareness of this magic called Nature that we organize such events at the lake. Make the most of them. They happen at your neighbourhood lake. 


Monday, January 15, 2018

Book launch at the lake, Sunday 21st Jan 2018

Close on the heels of Foto Fundas, the photography workshop to be conducted by Mr S.K. Srinivas on Saturday 20th January, here's another not-to-be missed event! 

On Sunday 21st January,  there will be a book release event at Puttenahalli Lake - Discover Garden Climbers written by Mr T.S. Srinivasa, with photographs by Mr  Karthikeyan S., both naturalists. 

The book is the second in a series of low cost, information-packed pocket guides brought out by EcoEdu, the first being Discover Avenue Trees.

Mr Vijay Thiruvady, who leads the Lal Bagh Green Heritage Walks, and is the author of Heritage Trees In and Around Bangalore (both he and the book are treasure troves of stories of trees in the city) will release the book. We are very privileged that we will have him with us. It will be a great opportunity to meet him. 

Date: Sunday 21st Jan. 2018
Time: 5 p.m. (please assemble by 4.45 p.m.)
Venue: Gazebo, Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase

Discover the joy of green spaces. Discover Garden Climbers. Copies will be on sale at the venue. 

Save the dates, folks! 
Sat. 20th Jan - photography workshop. 
Sun. 21st Jan - book release and discussion.