Green ribbons – Mysore

December 23, 2012

The city of Mysore has always been known to be amongst the greener and better planned cities of India. In the recent past a concerted effort led by the responsible institutions and civil society has resulted in an improvement of many of the water bodies of the city. One has to visit Karanji Lake adjacent to the world famous Mysore Zoo to see what dedicated efforts at reviving a water body can result in.

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The link between the catchment and the lake has been restored by clearing up unauthorized occupation of the link channels. Part of the Chamundi hills which stands sentinel over Mysore, form the major watershed from where the lake gets its water.  This has now been afforested to protect its character. The channels have been cleared up and encroachments removed.

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Entry points to the lake also see some sewage flowing in. Small wetlands have been created to improve the water quality. These absorb the nutrients and when regularly harvested also ensure lesser pollution of the lake. Floating bamboo based grass clumps with their roots taking in nutrients from the waters are an innovative way of cleaning the lake waters have been placed.

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The island on the lake is host to many birds and a butterfly park has been created. Signage’s are everywhere and it is refreshing to see one saying Beware of crocodiles. Not a regular sign you will see in your regular urban lake. A fountain blasts water into the air and creates the right ambience. Most importantly the space is open for all citizens to come in and enjoy. A bit of peace and tranquility in a bustling city.

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Many of our urban areas can learn from the revitalization of the lake as in Mysore. The more we focus on water bodies the better it is for the entire ecosystem. A side effect is the recharge of our groundwater and thus additional supply for the city.

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While the hard infrastructure like pipes, pumps and tanks are seen as ways of delivering water to a city there is also a softer sector which does almost the exact same thing but is usually not a focus. Urban lakes are part of the green infrastructure and attention to them will improve the overall habitat and ecology. That is water wisdom.



  1. Thanks Vishu

  2. Its too good to be true. A dream. Every urban citizen, for that matter citizen should take a lesson how self help is the best help and not waste time and energy in cursing the policticians and the govenment but gridle hiself/herself up and get down to work. Determination, selfless work and sincerity can move mountains.


  3. I’m doing a story on reviving water bodies for Oxfam’s Asia Dialogue website. Let me know if you have contacts or ore info regarding this initiative. Thanks!

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