Water management via Karanji Lake method at Mysore Zoo

The Mysuru zoo has set an example of how water can be harvested and the lake systems can be managed. It has constructed a rainwater harvesting system that not only helps prevent flooding, but enables groundwater recharge too.

“The water management is such that an increase in water-level in the Karanji lake due to flooding does not result in a spillover. The authorities divert it to the zoo where three huge ponds have been constructed and the water is stored. This not only helps groundwater management but ensures that there is no overflow from the lake as the water-levels are stabilised,” U.N. Ravikumar, who is advocating rainwater harvesting and helping in its establishment in Mysuru since the 1990s.

Karanji lake was on the verge of eutrophication in the late 1990s and had become completely dry. The feeder channels were encroached upon and the water from the Chamundi Hills would dissipate to nearby areas. But once the zoo authorities cleared the encroachments, the lake was flushed with fresh water and the vegetation began to bloom. Landscape management helped the entire lake precincts emerge as a biodiversity hotspot and today it is a popular tourist attraction.

But the same cannot be said about the management of Kukkarahalli lake whose fresh water feeder channels had been encroached upon and destroyed and colonies constructed on its path while the Lingabudhi lake had an outflow duct which was destroyed recently during the ongoing construction works for a residential area.

In case of heavy rain, the new layouts in the vicinity of the lake was bound to be flooded, Mr. Ravikumar said.

The excess water in the lake is diverted to two ponds constructed in the zoo.

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