Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Making the dream of a water-filled lake a reality

There has been much excitement at Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar this past week. With the onset of summer, there is not much water in the lake but it is expected that this will not be for long. PNLIT's "get water in the lake" project is closing in on another milestone.    

A couple of years ago, a diversion channel to let storm water into the lake was completed by the BBMP. Apart from harvesting rain water, this move proved to be important in preventing the flooding of low-lying areas near the lake. Though the water level in the lake did rise during the monsoons, it was evident that this storm water would not be adequate.    

One of the questions often raised by visitors to the lake has been "Why is there so little water in the lake?" Last year, around the same time, I had written a post about summer lakes which can be read here. The option of letting treated water from a neighbourhood sewage treatment plant (STP) into the lake seemed to be a viable one, provided the quality of the water met the required standards. The L&T-built South City apartment complex that is located very close to the lake has a functional STP, so we approached the association to explore the possibility of getting its treated water, and have been treading cautiously. After painstakingly arresting any sewage flow into the lake over the past few years, the last thing we would want is a lake full of muck! Better less water than sewage water.  

Now coming back to the excitement at the lake. On 28th March 2015, the Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Dr Acharya, visited the lake for a cleaning drive that had been jointly organised by KSPCB, BBMP, SUGRUHA (South City association) and PNLIT. Upa Lokayukta Justice Adi and BBMP Chief Engineer (Lakes) Mr BV Satish were also present. Volunteers from the neighbourhood, young and old spent their morning in clearing the lake bed and bund. Saplings of trees that can grow in water were planted in the lake bed, and poles to serve as bird perches were also fixed. 


Pic: Sanchayan Nath

More pictures can be seen here and in the linked reports.     

During this visit, the KSPCB Chairman Dr Acharya also inspected the STP at the South City apartment complex. After several months of work, the water from the STP had finally passed the quality standards. PNLIT trustees and South City representatives had met with Dr Acharya a few weeks ago to seek permission to release the treated water into the lake. After this visit, he was satisfied. Oral permission has been granted while written permission is awaited. This means that excess water from the STP instead of being fed into the underground drainage system can be let into the lake. At least 400 kilo litres per day! The connection pipe between the lake and South City's STP needs to be laid. Once this is done and a water monitoring system is installed, the lake will be ready to receive the treated water. The water quality will be closely monitored. A picture of a lake full of water is already taking shape in everyone's minds. People are waiting to see it!             

The conditions under which KSPCB has decided to let a private apartment's STP outflow into a public lake on a trial basis, the efforts involved and photographs can be seen in various related reports: 
KSPCB blog 
Bangalore Mirror 
Deccan Herald 
DNA online 
The New Indian Express

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

World Water Day - Let's clean our lake!

With our trees sprouting new leaves or bursting into flower, each day is a celebration of our lake. The World Water Day (March 22nd) is but an excuse for us to get together and do our bit for Water. Post Ugadi, please join us on Sat. 28th March to clean the dry parts of the lake bed. Help us remove the plastic, pull out weeds and plant bamboo perches for the birds. For just a couple of hours of work on one day in a year, get the satisfaction of preparing your lake for the monsoon. 

We are delighted to have the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board as our partner in this lake clearing drive.

Time: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Venue: Puttenahalli Lake, near MLR Convention Hall

Tender new leaves

Pink Cassia flower bud sprays

Good site for planting bird perch

To ensure that we have enough garden equipment for all volunteers, please confirm your participation with a reply to this mail.  Children below 15 years can work with you on the bund, de-weeding, mulching, etc. There will be plenty of work for all!   

With Ugadi greetings.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bird watch update - Storks and Herons

We are delighted to see avian visitors returning to the lake after a year! Yesterday, heedless of the hot afternoon sun, we spotted a Painted Stork, Asian Openbill Stork and a Grey Heron together with a resident Egret, foraging for food. They were so close to each other that all four can be seen in one frame. 
Grey Heron, Asian Openbill, Egret, Painted Stork

Asian Openbill

Asian Openbill and Grey Heron

Painted Stork

Our other resident heron, the Purple Heron, kept close to the bulrushes near the wetland. We realized later that it was keeping an eye on its young one lurking in the bulrushes. We will photograph the juvenile when it decides that the outside world is not such a bad place!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cycling enthusiasts - 1st March is your day!

Our PNLIT is registered as an NGO beneficiary at the Vodafone Cycling Marathon. Our page can be seen here.

Calling all you cycling enthusiasts to register for the marathon and support our cause. The marathon is on 1st March. Registrations will close soon. Please register today! Pick the ride that suits you - from 60 kms for professionals to fashion ride of 5 kms. There's even a kids' ride of 2 kms!! More rides and registration details on the website here.

Godspeed to your cycling legs!!  

Best regards

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Highlights of Lake Alive: the Puttenahalli Kere Habba

Report by Usha Rajagopalan

The morning of the Kere Habba on 21st Feb. saw over 30 volunteers coming as early as 7 a.m. and setting to work stringing festoons between trees, paper lanterns, sticking event posters, and more. Almost ALL the decorative items were "home made" by children and adults. Snehadhara Foundation did likewise with sketches and artefacts painstakingly done by their children. Many hands made for quick work and it was all done in a couple of hours. It was time for a sumptuous breakfast made and served fondly by Krishna, South City and Pavithra from Brigade Millennium. 

Volunteers at work

Children too!


By the time the first of the visitors arrived, the shamiana was up adding to the festive atmosphere. "Lake Alive" being an event of, for and by the people we didn't have to wait for a VIP Chief Guest. Mrs. Leela Nagarajan, the craft guru of the day, lit a lamp and the sessions began, not just in the Gazebo but also at the Viewing Deck and along the coconut grove.

The birds in the lake were not in the least fazed by the drumming, the children running or shouting. They continued to fly and fish, to the delight of the bird watchers and photographers. The stars of them all were a pair of Pied Kingfishers which hovered in the air and dived and fought with each other for the catch! Equally oblivious of everything was another star, cartoonist Ananth Shankar who sketched, sketched and sketched even as dusk fell!

 Drumming with Djembe

Pied Kingfishers

 Children with potted plants that were given away free

Cartoonist Ananth Shankar at work

Photos above, courtesy Snehadhara Foundation, Deepa Mohan, Ajay Madan.

For more photos, please see these links

For media coverage of the Puttenahalli Kere Habba  

Our guesstimate of the number of people who visited the Habba is about 700. The best laid plans often go awry in its execution but thanks to our volunteers, we had an event that went off smoothly. They were more than 60 and it would make a very long list indeed but our heartfelt thanks to each of them. Sincere thanks also to India Water Portal for partnering Lake Alive with PNLIT. The Kere Habba is an initiative of the Namma Bengaluru Foundation.