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Lake Chikkanahalli Rejuvanation

Project Leader(s): Anirban Dutta

School(s) involved: The International School Bangalore, Inventure, Neev Academy, Ekya Schools, Greenwood High

City: Bangalore

Start Date: 10-July-2020

This project was carried out in collaboration with IIT for IIT, Rotary Club Indiranagar and FuelADream. Furthermore, this project aimed to bring together students along Bangalore for a common purpose as all preceding projects were restricted to their school area itself. It should be mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic restricted all physical interactions which prevented the members from going to the site of the project.

Project summary

As the name indicates, this project was focused on rejuvenating lake Chikkanahalli of Bangalore. Lake rejuvenation refers to improving the health of a lake and consequently the ecosystems within and around it. Providing some context, all lakes are connected to the underground water table, and in the case of some “dead” lakes, this connection has been clogged after years of silt deposition and human trash. Lakes have a natural rejuvenation system where the slightly older water at the bottom of the lake seeps into the water table allowing for new, fresh rain water to be injected from the top. Due to the clog, water in the lake has stagnated and over time filled to the brim with incoming fresh water from rain just causing the lake to overflow.  

To rectify this issue, IIT for IIT aimed to unplug this clog allowing the water to seep back into the underground water table and the bring back the lake’s ability to naturally rejuvenate itself from rainwater. Apart from improving the quality of water, an added benefit of this project observed. The silt that is extracted from the lake, also known as “black gold” by farmers, is valued highly in the farming community due to its ability to act as a very good fertiliser. Through this, a large chunk of the project cost was mitigated as the farmers in the surrounding villages offered to bore the cost of transporting the silt to their respective farmlands as a payment for the silt itself. From previous projects, IIT for IIT has stated that farmers reported that were able to recuperate their money after just 6 months of added the silt in the form of increased crop production.

Finally a long-term benefits of this project, which IIT for IIT has already begun to notice in their previous projects in Maharashtra, is the increased quantity of water in the water table. When a significant number of lake within a certain region have been rejuvenated through this method, more water can seep into the water table providing water access to areas which were previously water deficit. The social benefit of a project like this is immense in the long run. 

Project initiation and development

The project planning began on 10th July where meetings and emails from representatives of each respective organization were sent and decided. Due to an earlier crowdsourcing test, we could determine the difficulty of a crowdsourcing project and the validate legitimacy of these organizations: FuelaDream for the Crowdsourcing platform and Rotary club Indiranagar for funds management. In the previous project in April with the aforementioned organisations, we raised roughly 3,00,000 INR or 4,000USD over the course of a month for food packages during the CoVID-19 crises. Therefore, experienced members were able to inform and advise new participants accordingly, strengthening relationships and increasing the effectiveness of the crowdsourcing.

After conducting a few meetings with Mr. Joe Fernandez, a representative from IIT for IIT, we were able to understand the methodology behind the lake rejuvenation and the innovative approach which allows costs to be dramatically reduced. The total cost of rejuvenating the at the site came down to 6,50,000 INR or 8,800USD from roughly 30,000USD.

Having established the aim and concept of this project, our objective was to formulate and manage a team capable of achieving the aim and possibly surpass it. Therefore, from approximately June 1st to July 8th, multiple meetings with students and heads of clubs at different schools were carried out to recruit interested participants into the project. The list of schools which participated were: TISB, Inventure Academy, Greenwood High, Ekya School and NEEV Academy with 18 members present, pertaining from the age group(s) 12-18. 

To specialise and train the participants, an hour long training session was held to familiarize the concept of crowdfunding to those who have never crowdsourced before. This included a session with Mr. Ranganath from FuelADream.

On 16th July, all campaigns were launched at each individual aimed at a goal of 50,000 INR. The jobs of the individual participants were to call, convince and request funds from outer and inner circle relations for a donation. Expectedly, many of the donors would have questions pertaining to the project and methodology, which is why the details of the project in every aspect was clarified known by our team members beforehand. 

The team decided to produce a video to gain traction for donors to donate to the campaigns in the middle of their respective campaigns, when the majority of the participants crossed 60% of their goal. This video included face-to-face interaction, script management, video editing, sound management, etc. which was delegated according to the strengths of each member. This is important for any leader to establish a working relationship with their teammates. The video was produced and shared across social media in a total of 4 days.

The project came to a close on the 14th of August 2020. The total amount of funds raised for the rejuvenation of Chikkanahalli Lake was 9,60,717 INR or 13,000USD which surpassed the goal. The excess funds will be set aside for future lake rejuvenation projects in Bangalore. There are around 500 different lakes where a similar project can be carried out.

 At the time of this blog post, the actual rejuvenation of the lake is set to start in 2-3 weeks and there is complete ensurement that 100% of the money raised will go to rejuvenating the lake. For further scope, it is possible to carry out training sessions under the guidance of IIT for IIT in the villages near Chikkanahalli Lake to educate them on how to not pollute the lake; however, is impossible to currently carry out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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