Bangalore Lakes A to Z Guide
Buzzing around the lakes of Bengaluru, dragonflies are often in search of insects on the lake. These fast travelers spend most of their lives near bodies of water and are part of the Lake Bengaluru ecosystem. The larvae live in water and the adults are terrestrial and find their food at the water’s edge.
Millions of dragonflies migrate thousands of kilometers across the sea from southern India to Africa every year. Biologists say this could be the longest migration of all insects. Their presence is also very important to humans. Being aerial predators, they catch and feed on unwanted insects like mosquitoes. They also capture midges, butterflies, moths and bees.
Effluents are wastewater containing a large amount of toxins that flow from factories, industries or treatment plants directly into water bodies. The discharge of effluents into freshwater ecosystems such as lakes affects the water, reducing its oxygen content and rendering it unusable. It also affects the soil which is supplied by this toxic water. Poor water and soil quality is in turn harmful to the plant and animal life that lives there.
Effluent is also one of the building blocks of foam – water bubbles that form a white layer on lakes. Due to the effluents, non-biodegradable detergents and other toxins present in the lake, the lakes spit up scum. Bengaluru’s Lake Bellandur, infamous for its pollution, was found covered in a huge amount of smelly moss. The white, fluffy foamy layer on a lake is actually a sign that the lake is unhealthy and requires immediate restoration attempts.
Groundwater is the water present below the surface of the Earth. In Bengaluru, one of Asia’s fastest growing cities, groundwater is not available in abundance to meet water demand. Bangalore’s average annual rainfall is 970 mm. Well, that seems sufficient to meet our needs! Yes, but in many parts of the city the groundwater is contaminated with sewage, industrial waste and soil pollution, making it unusable / dangerous. Groundwater conservation requires actions from both citizens and government who together must ensure that groundwater recharge is carried out on a large scale throughout the city.
Public spaces are what give a city character. Bengaluru has evolved into synonymous with lakes due to the way people successfully use space. The lakes of Bangalore recall a childhood spent in the company of nature. The greenery, water and biodiversity in and around the water source, people in their calmest moods, make time spent by the lakes a matter of relaxation. A lake is a place of many “hollows” – familiar hollows and new hollows. Here, friendships are formed, much needed moments of solitude are sought, communities come together and outdoor recreation is pursued.
With its long beak curving downwards, the ibis is easily recognizable. It generally inhabits wetlands and plains. The red-naped ibis (left) is a regular in the Bengaluru lakes. Wetlands are also home to the black-headed ibis and glossy ibis. Waterfowl like Cattle Egret, Pond Herons, Eurasian Spoonbill, Spotted Pelicans, Cormorants and Painted Storks are other birds that depend on the lakes of Bengaluru, providing plenty of sites for bird lovers. ornithology and citizen scientists.
The lakes of Bengaluru were also home to jackals in large numbers. The decrease in green spaces and water bodies has also led to a decrease in their number. Jackals are primarily scavengers, although they are also known to prey on birds, rodents, and other small animals. Snakes, jungle cats, mongooses and slender lorises are some of Bengaluru’s other urban wild residents.
Kere (ಕೆರೆ) is “lake” in Kannada, the language mainly spoken in the state of Karnataka. As the city does not have a perennial river nearby and the water dependency rests on Cauvery which is also very far away, the keres in Bangalore are an integral part of culture, economy and history. Some of the most popular lakes are Sankey Reservoir, Madivala Reservoir, Lake Bellandur, Kere Chele, Lake Hebbal, Lake Ulsoor, Kere Varthur, Lake Jakkur, Kere Akshayanagara, and Benniganahally Reservoir. Wetlands like the kere are in themselves productive ecosystems rich in biodiversity but remain unrecognized despite the important role they play and their many benefits.
Occasionally you will hear the term Kannada Kere Habba which means the celebration of lakes. Phone celebrations are now a way to raise awareness of lake conservation and bring the community together to get actively involved.
The city also has a large number of smaller water bodies – gokattes (defined as bodies of water between 1 and 3 acres) and kuntes (defined as bodies of water less than 1 acre) – which have been around for centuries. Kattes and kuntes are important for water security, biodiversity and flood prevention. According to a 2018 inventory from the Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute report, 57.5% of gokattes and 75% of kuntes from Bangalore have disappeared.