Why is BWSSB choking Jakkur Lake to death?

Bengaluru: Jakkur Lake, which was a model of rejuvenation project, is under threat as the BWSSB has decided to reduce the amount of treated water being flowed back into the water body.

The Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board has said the sewage treatment plant, once upgraded, will generate around 15 million litres per day (MLD) of treated water. But of this, 10 MLD will be supplied to the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) for use at a thermal plant being commissioned next month. This leaves only 5 MLD of treated water for the lake.

"After the upgradation, the thermal plant will get over 10 MLD for cooling and the rest 5 MLD will be released into the lake," said Mr K.R. Manjunath, chief engineer, BWSSB projects.  

The KPTCL will pay BWSSB for the water used. But the move has not gone down well with activists, who say monetary gains are taking precedence over the drinking water needs of areas nearby that don't get Cauvery water and have to depend on borewells. 

"This lake is one of the primary sources for replenishing groundwater. The treated water rejuvenates the lake and recharges groundwater" said co-founder of Friends of Lake Ram Prasad. 

Dr Annapurna S. Kamath of Jala Poshan, a citizen group that adopted the lake in 2014, said that Rachenahalli Lake is dependent on Jakkur Lake and if the latter gets affected, the Rachenahalli water body too will die. 

“A minimum of 7 MLD should be given to the lake for its survival. We are asking for 2 MLD more and if this comes through, it will be balanced. Earlier, Jakkur was a seasonal lake and after it was redesigned, it became perennial with water being released from the STP. How can the BWSSB now deprive it of water," she asked. 

Rachenahalli Lake that does not have its own STP receives water when Jakkur overflows. One of the solutions suggested by the activists is to have a double line which after cooling the thermal plant would carry the water to the lake.

"But KPCL should give a report saying water used for cooling will be free of toxic chemicals and pollutants. If one pipe carries water from STP to the plant, the other can bring it back to the lake," she suggested.  

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