I would like to share an example of lake restoration, which happened in one of the biggest cities in India, Bengaluru, which is also known to be the Silicon Valley of India. We do not require heavy investments or fancy engineering methods to restore the water bodies; it gives a sigh of relief to know if we all put an effort together, whatever we have in our capabilities, we could achieve wonders. Local communities in and around the lakes at Bengaluru deal with lake pollution, de-silting, encroachment.
Teachers and students of KK School in Bengaluru’s Varthur, for example, took it upon themselves to preserve a dying lake in the vicinity of the school. “The lake started deteriorating in 1981. The work to preserve it from further falling prey to urbanization started around 1985, and since then, the efforts are on,” said MA Khan, headmaster of the school. the fish in the lake started dying due to the sewage waste. “Students often asked about the foul smell emanating from the lake. So they started community engagement tried to alert the government and local bodies to be aware of the situation, so the water was tested. It was found out with the presence of heavy metals contamination the bore well and affecting the food chain.
Initially, they reduced the incoming of sewage with the help of local communities. First, all solid material and chemicals were removed. Second, the sewage treatment plant (STP) removed nutrients and ions from entering the water body. Third, natural algae ponds or ecosystems were created for the lake to undergo a biophysical and chemical process.
Native plants in and around the lake were protected, the groundwater levels were recharged, there was no water scarcity faced by the local communities dependent on the lake water. Migratory birds got a safe space too.