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Hebbal Lake is located in the north of Bangalore at the mouth of National Highway 7, along the junction of Bellary Road and the Outer Ring Road (ORR). It was one of the three lakes created in 1537 by Kempe Gowda. Like most lakes or "tanks" in the Bangalore region it was formed by the damming natural valley systems by the construction of bunds. The spread of the lake in a study in 2000 was found to be 75 ha with plans for extending it to make up 143 ha.
Hebbal Lake - Bangalore
The catchment area of the lake was found to be 3750ha and this area includes the residential areas of Yeshwanthpur, Mathikere, Rajmahal Vilas Extension, Bharat Electronics Limited and Hindustan Machine Tools Limited colonies. In 1974 the lake area was 77.95 ha and in 1998 it was 57.75 ha. Based on the rainfall of the region, the annual catchment was estimated at 15.2 million cubic metres with 3.04 million cubic metres during the Northeast Monsoon, 10.12 million cubic metres during the Southwest Monsoon and 3.28 million cubic metres in the dry season. The storage capacity of the lake was estimated in 2000 to be 2.38 million cubic metres with desilting raising it to 4.07 million cubic metres. Sewage inflow into the lake has altered the chemistry and biology of the lake. Most measured physico-chemical properties of the waters of the lake exceed the acceptable standards for sewage effluent discharge set by the Indian Standards Institute (Indian Standards: 2490, 1982).
The lake is predominantly eutrophic due to the inflow of sewage. The nutrients support the profuse growth of Water Hyacinth and Typha in the shallow zone. The habitat is favoured by many species of water birds including large waterbirds such as the Spot-billed Pelican, Eurasian Spoonbill, Shoveller, Pintail, Garganey, Little Grebe, Coot and Spot-billed Duck. The shallow zone supports sandpipers and other waders as well as Purple Moorhens, Purple Herons and Grey Herons.
In the late 1990s, an ecological experiment was conducted with the introduction of Neochetina bruchi and Neochetina eichhorniae weevils from Argentina to control the growth of water hyacinth.
Historically lakes in the Bangalore region were managed by the Public Works Department, but The lake was managed by Karnataka State Forest Department. The management was transferred in 2002 to the Lake Development Authority, a non-profit society started with the aim of managing lakes in the Bangalore region.
A project for lake restoration funded under the Indo-Norwegian Environment Programme at a cost of Rs. 2.7 crore (USD 700,000) led to major changes in the ecosystem beginning in 1998. Two artificial islands were created using the soil from desilting under this project. These vegetated islands have become the roost sites of many water-birds. Desilting was ostensibly taken up in 2003 as part of this program.