Number of lakes declined to 34 from 72 in the recent past, says water expert
The lakes in Mysuru are fading into oblivion. The number of water bodies in and around the city has dropped to 34 from 72 in the recent past. In Nanjangud, the temple town on the banks of the Kapila, the number of lakes has fallen to 14 from 28.
Citing a report from EMPRI (Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute), water conservationist U.N. Ravi Kumar said the report on the status of lakes in and around Mysuru was prepared four years ago. Based on the report, “we can say the lakes are disappearing for various reasons, primarily encroachments.”
Speaking on the topic of lakes in Mysuru during an interaction organised by Mysore Grahakara Parishat here recently, he said the Kukkarahalli Lake, which spread across 49 hectares in the heart of the city, was in need of immediate attention for stopping the entry of sewage into the lake. The University of Mysore is the caretaker of the lake.
The main source of freshwater to the lake is Poornaiah canal. The Mysore City Corporation, the University of Mysore and the district authorities have the collective responsibility of maintaining and safeguarding the lake. A report from the National Institute of Engineering had claimed that water from as far as Bommanahalli lake, which is about 21 km from the lake, joins the Kukkarahalli lake, he explained.
Rajakaluve or the stormwater drain, which is also the main source of water to the lake, has also been encroached upon at several places. No action has been taken to clear the encroachment despite the authorities being alerted on several occasions. “The University of Mysore, for want of funds, has not done much to protect the lake and therefore the district authorities must provide funds for safeguarding the water body. The lake ecosystem was disturbed due to desilting of fertile soil from the banks,” Mr. Kumar observed.
He said Karanji Lake, which is under the Mysuru zoo, has been also encroached upon, including the portions of Rajakaluve that brings fresh water to the lake. The lake surroundings have tall trees where the migratory birds build nests during breeding season. Three years ago, Karanji Lake had dried up fully and desilting was done to deepen the lake for impounding more rainwater.
Some portions of Lingambudhi lake area were acquired for the purpose of constructing the Outer Ring Road and a few layouts too have encroached upon the lake area, thus disturbing its ecosystem. The sewage flow into the lake has also not been addressed fully, he explained.
Explaining the sorry state of lakes in and around Mysuru, Mr. Kumar said the lakes that existed in 2001 started disappearing and their number dropped substantially by 2011 due to the frequent encroachments. Lakes exist only in ten districts in the State as the remaining districts are either dominated by hills or they are dry places. The erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore developed many lakes in and around Mysuru, and that’s why Mysuru had so many water bodies.
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