Mysore: The pristine Karanji Lake, surrounded by a Nature Park, Butterfly Park and a walk-through aviary, is facing the threat of lake breach thanks to heavy rains lashing the city, especially atop the Chamundi Hill, the main source of water to the picturesque Lake. Sensing the threat, Mysuru Zoo authorities are on 24/7 vigil to prevent the Lake bund from breaking and water overflowing.
Till recently, the Lake was bone dry and water filled up only after Oct. 5 when it rained heavily atop the Chamundi Hill. The Lake filled up only last week, regaining its glory and tourists flocked the green precincts to enjoy boat rides.
Now with the rain resuming in full vigour, the Lake faces the threat of breach. Gallons of water flows down the Hill every minute, filling the Lake to the brim. Added to the cascading water that has created many streams atop the Hill, rainwater is also flowing from Siddhartha Layout, Raghavendra Nagar, Teresian College, Giriyabovipalya, Alanahalli and surrounding areas, increasing the water levels.
On high alert
The Lake is maintained by Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens or Mysuru Zoo and the authorities are on high alert. Thousands of gallons of water flowed into the Lake last Saturday, Sunday and Monday and the Zoo staff and officers were on night-long vigil. If the lake breaches, the Zoo will be flooded and sections like deer and sambar enclosures and surroundings will be water-logged.
The Lake had breached in 2004 as similar situation prevailed then. The Zoo authorities have already diverted some of the water to three ponds and rainwater harvest units inside the Zoo using motor pumps. A ground-level rainwater harvest unit near the Amphitheatre and Rhino House is filled with fresh water after draining out old water.
Excess water to Dalvoy Lake
If the Lake is nearing a breach situation, water will be diverted to Dalvoy Lake. There is a Rajakaluve beside Mall of Mysore and its gates are located near Rana Pratap Circle. There are three gates here for the water to enter Karanji Lake from Chamundi Hill.
Next to it, there is another gate that takes water to Dalvoy Lake and this gate is opened when the Lake reaches its breach-level and there are red marks to indicate the danger level. This water will flow via Mall Of Mysore, Mysore Race Club, Opposite Madhuvana to reach Yelethota from where water will flow into Dalvoy Lake, explained Zoo authorities.
“We are on constant watch and we are continuously monitoring the water level at Karanji Lake. We will open the Rajakaluve Gate and let the water flow into Dalvoy Lake. This water filling is good news to the Zoo. We have filled up all the wells and ponds inside the Zoo and the groundwater here and surrounding areas will be recharged,” said RFO Manjunath and Zoo Executive Director Ajit M. Kulkarni.
It may be mentioned here that water has filled the Lake due to constant efforts of the Zoo authorities including scientific desilting and clearing of Rajakaluves that naturally bring in water to the Lake from Chamundi Hill.
This morning, Naturalist U.N. Ravikumar, who is also a wetland specialist, visited the Lake and expressed happiness over the water filling the Lake. “The Lake has regained its glory and there is over 50 hectare metres of water now. We are ready to divert the excess water to Dalvoy Lake. There are specially made gates for this purpose,” he said.
Expressing concern over the relentless flow of plastic waste from Siddarthanagar and surrounding areas, he said, “Though we have put iron mesh at the water entry points from Siddarthanagar to filter plastic and other solid waste, local residents break the mesh and this has made plastic waste to flow into Karanji Lake,” he said.
Over 16,000 cubic meters of the Lake was desilted in March this year.
The Zoo management took the guidance of Ravikumar to desilt the Lake. The desilted area was cleared of clay that had been accumulated since 1986. Also the soil deposits that flowed into the Lake from layout constructions in surrounding areas and sewage deposits were cleared.
By M.T. Yogesh Kumar