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The IUKWC hosted a webinar series between May - September 2020 to share the excellent work that is being done by Indian and UK scientists in the area of water security. Ninth in series, in this webinar, the speakers present water quality data from two lakes, Bellandur Lake and Jakkur Lake in Bangalore and discuss the current status of both lakes in the context of the presence and absence of interventions such as STPs, diversion drains, constructed wetlands etc. They also provide a road map, including governance needs, towards improving lake water quality further, to ensure sustainability of their use values. The restoration of urban lakes in Bangalore provide a case-study with lessons learnt that can be applied more widely in other large cities globally.
This webinar was attended by 111 people from around 27 institutions across India and the UK. The webinar contributed immensely to creating a new knowledge base amongst the viewers as per the feedback recieved; the talk has proven to be impactful, especially amongst research scholars and early career scientists who appreciated the simplified language, case study based focus and the step by step procedure discussed to improve a lake's water quality in an inclusive manner.
Bangalore is one of the most water-stressed cities in the world. Its many artificial lakes, or tanks, historically provided communities with water for irrigation, domestic use and fisheries. Many are still valued places for recreation and biodiversity in this rapidly growing city. They also act as key points for recharge of the city’s groundwater, and help mitigate flooding during monsoon periods. As the city has expanded, lakes started receiving untreated and partially treated wastewater (industrial and domestic) from open storm-water drains, and have become a repository of urban sewage. This raised severe environmental and health concerns due to high concentrations of faecal coliforms and low oxygen levels, which have led to fish kills and wetland bird deaths, and also concerns over levels of nitrates and toxic chemicals in groundwater. This has led to citizens, local NGOs and community groups to come together and demand the restoration of urban lakes.
Restoration activities employed in Bangalore include: a) diversion of untreated wastewater by creating drains around the periphery of lakes; b) construction of sewage treatment plants (STPs) and discharge of treated effluent into lakes; c) setting up STPs in combination with constructed wetlands for tertiary treatment; d) installation of constructed wetlands only; e) deployment of aerators / in-lake treatment; and f) beautification of walking paths and deployment of infrastructure, such as night lamps and benches.
In this study, we present water quality data from two lakes, Bellandur Lake and Jakkur Lake in Bangalore. These are examples of lakes that lie at the bottom and middle of the scale for improved water quality, respectively. We will discuss the current status of both lakes in the context of the presence and absence of interventions such as STPs, diversion drains, constructed wetlands etc. We also provide a road map, including governance needs, towards improving lake water quality further, to ensure sustainability of their use values. The restoration of urban lakes in Bangalore provide a case-study with lessons learnt that can be applied more widely in other large cities globally.
This webinar will be of interest to anyone interested in potential solutions and implementation barriers to addressing water quality issues in urban lakes. The aim is to help inform research questions in the content of lake health, as well as to build new collaborations across a range of disciplines to further restoration of freshwaters.
Priyanka Jamwal has a doctorate in Environmental Engineering and Management. Her work focuses on the identification of contaminant sources in surface water bodies, modelling the fate and transport of contaminants in urban hydrological systems, and assessing the risk to human health due to exposure to contaminants. Her empirical work has focused on quantification of the microbial load from point and non-point sources in urbanising watersheds. Her recent work on the fate of trace metals and nutrients in urban hydrological systems has identified gaps in the current water quality regulatory frameworks prevalent in India. Her work also focuses on understanding the groundwater sanitation nexus in peri-urban spaces, which lack piped water supply and centralised sanitation infrastructures. She collaborates with social scientists to understand impacts on water resources and governance, and restoration solutions.
Professor Laurence Carvalho is an ecologist in the Freshwater Restoration and Sustainability Group at UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling. He works on a range of issues related to the impacts of environmental change on water quality and the restoration of the ecological health of freshwaters. He specialises in the monitoring and management of harmful algal blooms in lakes and reservoirs. He developed UK and European environmental standards for lakes and has worked extensively on implementation of European water policy (Water Framework Directive). In recent years, he has been collaborating with partners in India to support restoration of freshwaters in rural villages and urban Bangalore.