A success story of lake rejuvenation

It is said that Bangalore had more than 250 lakes and tanks. With the rapid expansion of the city, lakes have been disappearing at an alarming rate.

However the story of Kaikondrahalli Kere is quite different. In the year 2009, Kaikondrahalli Kere situated on Sarjapur Road was practically dry and reduced to a swamp with some birdlife and a reasonable biodiversity.

If it had been left as it was, it was just a matter of time before the lake died and all the bird life would have disappeared. In order to save the lake, a rejuvenation project was taken up in the same year. The lake was completely drained and desilted. Trees were planted on the periphery and a walking track created. Even an island was formed in the middle of the lake. The whole project took about two years to complete.

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Today Kaikondrahalli Kere presents a totally different picture. It has water even though Bangalore has had a dry spell last year. And the lake is teeming with birdlife! One can see around 300 spotbill ducks scattered across the lake. Darters which were not seen before are regularly seen. There are plenty of Egrets -small and median, Herons – pond, grey and purple. Indian cormorants can be seen perched on the trees. Purple moorhens roam the marshy areas surrounding the lake.

The island, created during the rejuvenation, is full of vegetation, providing nesting places for birds. During winters quite a few migrants; Graganeys and Common Pochards have been seen. Painted Snipes have also been occasionally spotted. Marsh harriers are a common sight along with two other raptors – Brahminy and Pariah Kites. Three species of Kingfisher – White-throated, Pied and Small Blue, are residents of the lake. Little Grebes and Coots too are a common sight along with Redwattled lapwings. If one is lucky, the Paradise Flycatcher too can be spotted. A total of more than 55 species have been recorded from in and around the lake. Prior to rejuvenation this number was around 40.

The bird population and diversity has gone up in spite of increase in the number of walkers and the frenzied construction happening around the lake. The healthy bird population indicates that the lake has an abundance of aquatic life essential for sustaining birdlife.

In the past the lakes were "privatised" with disastrous results. The current state of the Agara lake bears testimony to the fact that privatisation is not the answer. One can only hope that the Kaikondrahalli Lake rejuvenation model is applied to other lakes across Bangalore before it is too late. This model rejuvenates lakes, which not only help in supporting birdlife but also provide recreational areas for the local neighbourhoods. The Lake Development Authority should take lessons from Kaikondrahalli Kere rejuvenation case and save lakes in Bangalore, which are in a complete state of neglect.

2 Comments

  1. Was there today morning. The water seemed good. Plenty of Spotbills and Herons. Cormorants nesting. Couple of Darters also spotted.

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