Thursday, May 13, 2010

Now artificial lakes to slake thirst!

Now artificial lakes to slake thirst!

Katta proposes to build six water bodies to store rainwater, but officials wonder where is the land

Rohith BR. Bangalore



After the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) making a noise about the tunnel roads on Monday, it was the turn of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to build castles in the air on Wednesday.
BWSSB minister Katta Subramanya Naidu said that the board would build six artificial lakes across the city to collect rain water and treat and supply it to residents. "We are in talks with the deputy commissioner of Bangalore Urban to build two lakes each in Vrishabhavathi and Bellandur valleys and one each near Anekal and Hoskote. Each lake would be spread over an area of 1,320 acres," he said.
He said the idea was to collect at least 35% of the city's annual average rainfall of 800mm. This would translate into 22tmc ft of water that could be used for drinking purposes.
"This is part of a long-term action plan to cater to the city's water needs. By realising this and associated projects we will be able to provide water 24X7 in all the 198 wards of the BBMP," the minister said, adding that a detailed report for the Rs4,500-crore project would be ready in three months, and that work would begin in the next six months. Sources said the lakes would be about 23 feet deep.
But with land acquisition posing a problem, there is little hope of the artificial lakes becoming a reality. A senior official at the Urban DC's office told DNA that no vacant land was available. "In Vrishabhavathi valley, I won't be able to give even 100 acres," the official said.
Another official added that even acquiring private land was a Herculean task, as the per acre rate anywhere in the radius of 15 to 20 km from the core area was over Rs1 crore.
Even BWSSB officials, on condition of anonymity, said that the project was extremely difficult to implement.
"We would need 8,000 acres and it is impossible to turn the minister's 'announcement' into reality. We may get space for only one such lake near the Seegehalii-Hesaraghatta range," they said.
Environmentalist KS Naveen said that the government first rejuvenate existing lakes, before building castles in the air.
"The lake rejuvenation project itself is yet to take off properly in many parts of the city. Many of the lakes that we have are artificial and the government should first give them a lease of life," he said. r_rohith@dnaindia.net

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