Spread over 2.67 acres, Jogi Kere lake, one of the smallest lakes in Bengaluru South, is plagued by the entry of untreated sewage through the stormwater drains, apart from encroachment issues.
The civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), in its document has stated that 0.11 acre of the lake was utilised for the construction of a road and 0.03 acre for a private residential layout.
But the main issue, according to experts and residents, is untreated sewage entering the lake. “The drainage system in the area has been constructed unscientifically. The drains connected to the lake carry sewage and this has contaminated the water. We have complained to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and they say it does not come under their jurisdiction,” said Umamahesh Bhavaraju, a resident staying near the lake,
Raghavendra B Pachhapur, programme manager with the NGO Action Aid Association, India pointed out that the overflow of sewage chambers around the lake is an issue that needs to be addressed by BWSSB. “A quarry opposite the lake channeled accumulated untreated water to the lake this month. The diversion channel was blocked for almost a month and sewage in large quantities got into the lake which led to algal bloom in the lake. Lapses at different levels have led to pollution in the lake.”
Environmentalists have called for an added alert at the home guard level and a quick response from the BBMP lakes department to save the water body. Moreover, Pachhapur has urged the authorities to plant more fruit/flower-bearing trees near the water body.
One of the two inlets to the lake which has the potential to collect rainwater remains defunct. It needs to be revived to improve the water quality of the lake.
Pachhapur, who is associated with lake conservation, demanded the BBMP form lake protection committees involving local people, for lake conservation.
Recently, the BBMP has identified five lakes, including Jogi Kere, for treating water using the Japanese technique of immersing Bokashi balls in the water body. A Bokashi ball made up of organic materials like soil, jaggery, husk, and molasses eats the sludge in the lake.
“It is a welcome move. At the same time, the BBMP should bring the facts of their earlier experience of Bokashi balls in Jakkur Lake to the public domain to demonstrate how it was beneficial. The lake has been attracting 77 bird species, including two ‘near threatened’ species – Oriental Darter and Black-headed Ibis have been observed in the lake,” Pachhapur said.
An official with the BBMP lakes department has promised to look into the issue.