Hesaraghatta Lake in Bangalore

Written by Sudhir Kumar

Hesaraghatta Lake in Bangalore, Karnataka state in India. its  a manmade reservoir located 18 km. It is a fresh water lake created in the year 1894 across the Arkavathy River to meet the drinking water needs of the city. Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, the then Dewan of erstwhile Mysore state and the then Chief Engineer of Mysore, M. C. Hutchins, planned to build the scheme called the “Chamarajendra Water Works” to store a three-years’ water supply to the city. You can see other detail of Hesaraghatta Lake at Place for vacations.

Topography :

The total catchment area draining into the Lake at the dam built on the Arkavathy River is 73.84 km2 (2189 mi2), out of which the direct draining catchment is 2.68 km2 (6.86 sq mi2).There are 184 tanks built in the Arkavathy River basin upstream of the Hesaraghatta lake. The Arkavati River originates in the Nandi Hills of chickballapur District and joins the Kaveri River at Kanakapuraafter flowing through Kolar District and Bangalore Rural district.. The Vrishabhavati and the Suvarnamukhi are the tributaries which drain part of Bangalore and Anekal Taluk respectively into the Arkavati River. The catchment receives a mean annual rainfall of 859.6 mm.

Hydrology and Water works :

The Arkavathy River is one of the two rivers which partially meet the water supply needs of Bangalore; the other being the Kaveri. The reservoirs created by building dams on the Arkavathy are the “Hesaraghatta” and the “Chamarajasagara” at Thippagondanahalli (TG halli) built during the years 1894 and 1933 respectively.

The Hesaraghatta dam is an earthen bund of 1690 m (5544 ft) with a total height of 40.55 m (133 ft) creating the Hesaraghatta Lake (reservoir) with storage of 997 M.Cft at full reservoir level with a lake surface area of 450 ha (1,124 acres). Water from the reservoir is taken through initially a 1.4 m dia (42″ dia) Hume pipe to the Soladevanahalli Pumping Station by gravity and then pumped (using steam pumps initially and later changed to electric pumps at Soledevanahalli) against a head of 115 to 135 m to the Combined Jewel Filters (CJF) plant at Malleswaram for treatment and supply to the consumers in the city.

When the Hesaraghatta Lake started drying up in the year 1925, as an urgent remedial measure, another dam was built to create a reservoir called the Chamaraja Sagar at TG Halli, downstream of the Hesaraghatta Lake. This dam has been enlarged from time to time, over the years, to meet partially, the increasing water supply demand of Bangalore.

Deterioration of the lake :

The reservoir is reported to have filled up last in the year 1994 and thereafter the lake’s deterioration and drying up started, reducing its reliability as a water supply source.

The reasons attributed to the lake’s drying up are erosion in the catchment and consequent capacity shrinking due to continuous silting. As of July 2009, the lake is completely dry. .

Avifauna :

Even in the deteriorated condition of the lake, birds such as the kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), magpie robin (Copsychus saularis), little egrets, common mynas (Acridotheres tristis), Brahminy kites, black drangos, bulbuls, greater coucals, purple sunbirds, etc., (some are pictured in the gallery.) have been reported in and around the lake periphery. Documented records of sighting of 2000 water birds of 29 species have been reported. The lake is also a great place for the winter migrants. Harriers and Spotted Eagles have been reported from this lake during winter. Bird poaching traps, a common sight, are located and removed from the bed of the lake quite often.

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Sudhir Kumar

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