‘Karanji Lake Festival’ to push for conservation of waterbodies

Karanji Lake in Mysuru is seen as a success story in lake conservation.

Karanji Lake in Mysuru is seen as a success story in lake conservation.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Mysuru once had many breathtaking lakes, but their number has come down to single digits over the years. Now, the challenge is to safeguard the last remaining waterbodies.

Karanji Lake Festival, proposed in December, looks to push the idea of saving the “dying” urban waterbodies, bringing to focus success stories in lake conservation and the best practices adopted in lake management.

Karanji Lake is a waterbody seen as a success story. After its conservation, it became a prominent tourist destination. The lake’s caretaker, Mysuru zoo, came up with the idea of hosting the lake festival to recount the efforts it put into its conservation, and more recently of removing silt from it. The festival, which is expected to attract experts in the area of lake conservation and wetlands, aims to educate people about the importance of waterbodies that support aquatic and avian lives.

Zoo director Ajit Kulkarni told The Hindu that the lake festival would bring a host of issues to the fore on the subject of protection of lakes. The festival will include presentations by experts, screening of videos on the Karanji Lake success story, and the best practices in lake conservation adopted in other cities.

The festival, which will also have other highlights such as bird-watching and visiting the butterfly park, is planned on December 16 and 17, Mr. Kulkarni said.

Story of the lake

Karanji Lake had gone dry this summer after last year’s deficient rains, forcing the zoo management to make use of the situation for removing the silt accumulated over the years. The major source of water to the lake is rainwater from Chamundi Hills and nearby localities.

Silt was removed from the lake with the hope of increasing its water storage capacity and improving the overall lake ecosystem as a lot of organic compounds had accumulated on the lake bed, Mr. Kulkarni said.

The surviving lakes here face a serious threat as solid, plastic, industrial, organic and building waste are dumped in them, a study by EMPRI had found. The worst impact is from untreated sewage directly discharged into waterbodies. Prominent among the lakes in Mysuru listed under “red alert” were Devanoor Lake, which has become a cesspool thanks to lack of maintenance and the release of untreated sewage.

In recent years, 37 waterbodies in the Mysuru-Nanjangud local planning area, which has been witnessing rapid urbanisation, made way for bus stands, playgrounds, parks and roads, the study had found. Though some waterbodies continue to “survive” in village maps on the outskirts, they are nowhere to be found as they don’t physically exist. Some lakes have been encroached upon too.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 5:21:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karanji-lake-festival-to-push-for-conservation-of-waterbodies/article30090008.ece

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