Madivala lake is a largish lake in BTM layout area of Bangalore – once a quiet suburb. The total size of the wetland area is about 25 acres and it comes under the Karnataka forest department. The Madivala lake was built by the cholas nearly 300 years ago. It got its name (which means washerman) because the lake used to be primarily used by the washermen population that lived around it. Then, the water was supposed to have been so clean that people would travel several miles to take drinking water from it.
But those days are long gone. Most parts of the lake are covered with weeds. With chemical waste being dumped into the lake by neighbouring industrial units every day, the water has turned acidic. Residents complain that even sewage from neighbouring slums is let into it. The lake which used to be filled with fish at one time now does not have too many species left.
Of late there has been some progress: some of the weeds have been cleared. Restoration work under the Indo-Norwegian environmental programme is underway which is working towards diversion and treatment of sewage to prevent contamination of underground aquifers in the area. The programme also aims at better utilisation of the Madivala lake for educative and research purposes. The lake has also been fenced. Ten to 15 boats have been placed here for recreation.
Inspite of all this, there are birds in Madivala – Moorhens, Coots and Jacanas in plenty! Ducks appear in winter along with several migrants like the Blue-throat and the Siberian Stone Chat.