Anand Malligavad: On a mission to rejuvenate lakes

Anand Malligavad was born in 1980 in a tiny village belonging to Koppal District of North Karnataka. He moved to the city of Bangalore at a very young age. Anand was very optimistic about the rate at which the city was growing. He was proud of the fact that, Bangalore was one of the fastest growing cities in the world. At the same time, the unplanned growth and enormous pressure on the natural resources appalled him, leading to the death of so many lakes in and around Bangalore city.

Anand Malligavad- The lake messiah

Being a village boy, coincidentally for him, his school was on the banks of a lake. Anand would rather spend most of his time by the lake and learn directly from nature. This long association with lakes and also by knowing their present condition in Bangalore, Anand decided that he wanted to do something to change the prevailing conditions. That decision set him on a path to rejuvenate Bangalore’s lakes one lake at a time. So far, in the past 2 years, Anand has been able to rejuvenate 4 lakes within a limited span of time and minimal resources. The lakes he has catered to are Kyalasanahalli Lake, Vabasandra Lake, Konasandra Lake, and Gavi Lake. Not only that, he has been able to provide guidance for 3 other lakes in the state.

Over the course of this journey, the path was not very smooth and straight. He had to battle – administrative hurdles, the land mafia, the encroachments, funding support. Most importantly he had to win over the mindset of the people, which he did with his skills and ability. He has fought all odds, now the world seems to be appreciating his efforts.

The lake rejuvenation process

His approach to lake rejuvenation is systematic and scientific. It involves rejuvenation of streams of inter-connected lakes divided into 4 different zones of Bangalore based on the topography and gravity. A lake rejuvenation, by which he means not just focusing on water, but changing the whole ecology with self-sustainable ecosystem representing the natural ecology of olden days. The rejuvenated lakes hosts 38000 saplings, and  4 miywaki forests planted with the help of 20,000 volunteers in record timings.

He employs engineering techniques for lake rejuvenation which is highly cost effective and innovative and proven to be successful. After the lake rejuvenation, nearly 180+ bore wells have been recharged. The land value around the lakes has shot up drastically and has improved the lives of the farmers. These lakes have become home to 100s of varieties of native trees, and birds. His work has now been studied by many top academic institutions for their research.

Kyalasanhalli Lake Before Rejuvenation

Kyalasanhalli Lake After Rejuvenation

Anand Malligavad- Achievements so far

Anand Malligavad is a TED speaker and has appeared on various panel discussions conducted on various news channels. Not only that, his work has been a motivation to many Social Service Groups like NSS, NCC, and numerous NGOs. His work has been used to inspire IT employees, Management students and school children about taking up water conservation. So far, his work has inspired many communities across the world to take up lake rejuvenation. He has received support pouring in from various corners of the world for his cause.

There has been media coverage from across the world including BBC NEWS, DD News and many more. Most of the national newspapers (PMO report card, D, The Hindu, The Times of India, The Business Standard, Zee news, The Deccan Herald, Bombay Samachar and several others), magazines and FM radio stations and podcasts have published his work.

For his tremendous achievements, he has been appreciated through various awards and nominations at the national and international level. A popular Media House, Asian News networks in Karnataka has called him the ‘Asamanya Kannadiga’ meaning “Impossible Kannadiga”. Rotary foundation has awarded him with “Unsung Hero of the city” and “Community Service Award” titles. He has also been nominated for many awards, which are yet to be announced.

After the impact seen by the rejuvenated lakes, his vision has broadened beyond borders. His mission is to rejuvenate at least 25% of the lakes in Bangalore by 2025. He wishes to help the city become drought free and avoid yet another Cape Town. But, now he dreams of an India to be drought free. He wants to inspire everyone to take up lakes and water bodies and make it a be self-sustaining ecosystem.

The road ahead

The road map for Anand Malligavan and his team is to train more and more like-minded thinkers through creation of informational websites, blogs, dedicated lake databases. These portals will be used to share information and enable self-learning and leadership. The broader idea is to create sustainable way of living by promoting weekend farming, agro-forestry, and creation of hydroponics on the drainage channels, perma-culture and regeneration of soils through organic farming. His idea is to make himself available to work with all the stakeholders, the governments, NGO’s, corporates and individual communities to help this work reach out to as many people as possible.

What is worthwhile to note is that, he has been quietly working and researching on lakes and ecosystems for nearly 5 years. He has done independent work on understanding lake designing and execution. He realized that rather than working on a full time job, and simultaneously working on lakes, if he focuses fully on such environmental work, he will be able to help improve lives of more and more people in the country. Thus, to take this vision forward, Anand quit his highly paying job in January 2019. He has, since then, dedicated the rest of his life for nation building.

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I am an MBA by education, a marketer by profession and a writer by passion. I believe that human life is a beautiful gift from God to us and we should live it following our heart so that we go back to Him without any regrets.

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