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Engineer stuns researchers after using ancient techniques to aid return of lake system: 'They laughed at me'

"This is now the purpose of my life."

"This is now the purpose of my life."

Photo Credit: LinkedIn

Low rainfall and overdevelopment have led to a water scarcity crisis in Bengaluru, a city in India sometimes referred to as the country's Silicon Valley and once known as a "city of lakes." However, those lakes have mostly dried up, with some in danger of disappearing entirely.

That is, until the intervention of one man, an engineer named Anand Malligavad. Malligavad, who worked at an automotive components manufacturer and had no prior knowledge of lake restoration, decided to take on the seemingly impossible challenge of single-handedly bringing water back to the dried-up Kyalasanahalli Lake. And, incredibly, that is exactly what he did.

"They laughed at me," Malligavad told The New York Times, recounting his initial attempts to get funding for his project. "Everyone thought I was crazy."

Instead, he simply proceeded on his own, researching ancient irrigation methods and eventually getting a $100,000 social responsibility grant from his company. He then had excavators dig out muck, trash, and plastic waste from the lakebed, reopening its channels, and also created islands for migratory birds.

Within six months after the monsoon season, the lake had refilled with clean water.

In the eight years since, Malligavad has restored an incredible 35 more lakes in Bengaluru, as well as seven lakes in Ayodhya, nine in Lucknow, and 40 water bodies in Odisha. He is now known as India's preeminent lake restoration expert.

"This is now the purpose of my life," Malligavad said. "I want to reclaim a hundred thousand lakes before I die. You can find alternatives to milk, but what will you do without water?"

Malligavad's story is inspiring, demonstrating the massive difference that one person can make when they decide to take on the pressing issues of pollution and the changing climate. 

And though his example is an extreme one — not likely to be repeated by many individuals — there are lots of things that we can all do to make a difference, from voting for pro-climate candidates to talking to your friends and family to donating money to climate causes.

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