The Lost Lakes of Bangalore



The South Indian city of Bangalore, being highly prone to aridity, has historically relied on a system of lakes and open wells to supply water to its population. Inscriptions from the eighth century CE onwards describe the process of creating lakes to support human settlements, and hint at the motivations of early settlers who built these lakes. Combining these narratives with maps of the late nineteenth century, archival records, and oral histories, we describe the loss of the once-close relationship between Bangalore’s residents and their lakes.

Author Biographies

Hita Unnikirshnan, Sheffield University, UK

Hita Unnikrishnan is a Newton International Fellow at Sheffield University. Her research interests include the historical and contemporary uses of urban commons, social ecological systems, and the interplay between society, nature, and culture. Her recent doctoral thesis explores the changing nature of the vulnerabilities of urban lakes’ social-ecological systems in Bangalore.

Harini Nagendra, Azim Premji University, India

Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India. Prof. Nagendra is a recipient of a 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award for her research and practice on issues of the urban commons. Her 2016 book “Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future” examines the implications of environmental change for urban sustainability in cities of the global Global South.