Bagaluru lake, located on the outskirts of the city, is now filled to the brim after three decades; and it’s treated water from the city that has helped the lake spring back to life.
This is the first lake to receive treated water from the Hebbal-Nagawara Valley project, which aims to lift 210 MLD of secondary treated water from sewerage treatment plants to fill 65 tanks located in Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural and Chikkaballapur.
Bagaluru lake, located 12 km from the Kempegowda International Airport, will act as an impounded reservoir to supply water to 11 other lakes in the region.
Farmers in the area are happy, hoping that the project will push up the water table. Sanjaya, who grows mint in his agriculture land near the lake, said, “I have never seen the lake full like this. The land is fertile in this region, and people grow various types of vegetables and commercial crops that are supplied to Bengaluru markets. We are hoping that ground water will get recharged in the coming days and help farmers.”
Muniyappa, another farmer said, “Farmers heavily depend on borewell water to irrigate their farm lands. There are many instances of farmers not getting underground water even after reaching 1,300 feet depth. On the other hand, rain is unpredictable. We have absolutely no water source and we have to feel contended with what we are getting.”
Ramachandra, a farmer from Chikkajala, said, “I have come here to see the lake, as through the project, even Chikkajala lake will also get treated water. Over the years, due to increased urbanisation, people in the region are shifting to other professions. But a large number of people still rely on farming in the region and this will help them.”
The authorities have prohibited direct use of treated water for drinking and agricultural purposes.
Byatarayanapura MLA and former minister Krishna Byre Gowda said the project is aimed at helping farmers in the regions hit by drought and depleting groundwater. The MLA said, “As per set standards of of the Central Government and norms backed by the WHO, water is being treated at STPs and released into lakes. The process is environmental compliant. Sampling tests and monitoring are done regularly. If there are discrepancies, supply would be stopped and resumed after taking the required measures.”
No other alternative
Referring to apprehensions raised over the K.C. Valley project that supplies treated water to Kolar district, he said, “People who are opposing the release of treated water should realise that drought-hit regions have no other alternative. By and large, all safety measures have been taken while implementing the project. Accidents may happen due to extraneous reasons. The project should be seen in a holistic sense, you should not single out a particular incident.”