There has been much excitement at Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar this past week. With the onset of summer, there is not much water in the lake but it is expected that this will not be for long. PNLIT’s “get water in the lake” project is closing in on another milestone.
A couple of years ago, a diversion channel to let storm water into the lake was completed by the BBMP. Apart from harvesting rain water, this move proved to be important in preventing the flooding of low-lying areas near the lake. Though the water level in the lake did rise during the monsoons, it was evident that this storm water would not be adequate.
One of the questions often raised by visitors to the lake has been “Why is there so little water in the lake?” Last year, around the same time, I had written a post about summer lakes which can be read here. The option of letting treated water from a neighbourhood sewage treatment plant (STP) into the lake seemed to be a viable one, provided the quality of the water met the required standards. The L&T-built South City apartment complex that is located very close to the lake has a functional STP, so we approached the association to explore the possibility of getting its treated water, and have been treading cautiously. After painstakingly arresting any sewage flow into the lake over the past few years, the last thing we would want is a lake full of muck! Better less water than sewage water.
Now coming back to the excitement at the lake. On 28th March 2015, the Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Dr Acharya, visited the lake for a cleaning drive that had been jointly organised by KSPCB, BBMP, SUGRUHA (South City association) and PNLIT. Upa Lokayukta Justice Adi and BBMP Chief Engineer (Lakes) Mr BV Satish were also present. Volunteers from the neighbourhood, young and old spent their morning in clearing the lake bed and bund. Saplings of trees that can grow in water were planted in the lake bed, and poles to serve as bird perches were also fixed.
More pictures can be seen here and in the linked reports.
During this visit, the KSPCB Chairman Dr Acharya also inspected the STP at the South City apartment complex. After several months of work, the water from the STP had finally passed the quality standards. PNLIT trustees and South City representatives had met with Dr Acharya a few weeks ago to seek permission to release the treated water into the lake. After this visit, he was satisfied. Oral permission has been granted while written permission is awaited. This means that excess water from the STP instead of being fed into the underground drainage system can be let into the lake. At least 400 kilo litres per day! The connection pipe between the lake and South City’s STP needs to be laid. Once this is done and a water monitoring system is installed, the lake will be ready to receive the treated water. The water quality will be closely monitored. A picture of a lake full of water is already taking shape in everyone’s minds. People are waiting to see it!
The conditions under which KSPCB has decided to let a private apartment’s STP outflow into a public lake on a trial basis, the efforts involved and photographs can be seen in various related reports: