Both Bellandur and Varthur lakes, two of the biggest lakes in the city and under rejuvenation, are overflowing flooding the overdeveloped plains between the two lakes. Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath tweeted that flooding had now been localised to an area of 5-6 sq km of the city.
Activist V. Ramprasad, from Friends of Lakes, said the water retention capacity of both the lakes had been reduced significantly over no desilting over the past two decades. “The depth of Bellandur lake varied from 3 feet to over 30 feet. But today, even with desilting work underway it is very shallow. If the lake is restored to its original condition, the lake series, including Bellandur and Varthur, can hold several tmcft of water,” he said.
However, Jagadish Reddy, resident and activist from Varthur village, said desilting work at both the lakes was in progress and their water retention capacity had significantly improved compared to two years ago. However, he said the series of lakes included a total of 96 lakes and an intricate network of rajakaluves and channels, which are neither desilted nor cleared of encroachments, which had majorly contributed to flooding in the area.
Presently, desilting work at both lakes had come to a halt for several months now. “Desilting work at Bellandur lake was stopped in April 2022 due to rain. However, desilting at Varthur lake came to a halt a month in March after local residents around the lake took objection to work causing noise during night time, even though agencies have permitted transportation of silt only during night time,” Mr. Reddy said.
Mr. Giri Nath said they had lifted the sluice gates at Bellandur lake letting water into Varthur lake and from Varthur lake water was being let out towards Dakshina Pinakini to manage the floods. “This will create some space in Bellandur lake, which is important as several upstream lakes like Saulkere and Kaikondrahalli are also overflowing. We need to create a cascading water flow to clear flooding in the area,” he said.