The Earth is a virtual ‘water planet’ because it has around 14,018 cubic kilometres of water on it. However, 97.5% of this is sea water and nearly all freshwater is locked in the Antarctic or Arctic ice caps, or as groundwater. Only river (0.002%) and lake (0.007%) water is available to us, and of this, lakes are the best sources for freshwater on the surface of the Earth as well as for fishing, water transport, recreation and biodiversity conservation.
Kempegowda, who founded Bengaluru, planned for tanks and lakes to capture rainwater so that the city would be water-secure and the citizens would have water for drinking, irrigation and other purposes. This gave Bengaluru a reputation for being a City of Lakes. Lakes were essential for Bengaluru as it did not have river sources and depended on its lake series for water
The lakes in Bengaluru form a chain of hydrological connection through them. The flow of water runs from North to South-East as well as South-West along the natural gradient of the land. During monsoons, the surplus water from the upstream lake flows down into the next lake in the chain and from there further down. This connectivity did not allow an overflow of water out of the lake into the surrounding area as additional quantity of seasonal water was transferred to other lakes.
The lakes thus forms a chain of reservoirs in each of the three valley systems. Each valley at the ridge top gives birth to small streams. These cascades down to form major stream systems in three valleys namely Hebbal Valley, Koramangala and Challaghatta Valley and Vrishabhavati Valley. These valleys are the repository of all the lakes in Bangalore and these lakes themselves are interlinked to each other through a series of chains of lakes giving a cascading effect to the whole system
Records show that till 1960 there were 262 water bodies in Bangalore. Today the figures have declined to about 81 of which 34 are recognized as live lakes. These figures denote a reduction of water bodies as high as 35%, while in terms of water spread area it shows a decrease of 8.6%.
Several lakes in Bengaluru can still be revived with strong political will and collective action. Wake the Lake has already established a model and a process that brings together civic bodies, civil society, and local communities, which can be replicated with ease, not just in Bengaluru but anywhere in the country.
Across the country, there are several community-driven initiatives that are working to restore and maintain their water bodies in both rural and urban areas. This portal will showcase as many of these efforts as possible and bring together communities who are bound by a common cause - that of preserving natural resources for the coming generations.