Dialogue on the Rivers of Bengaluru

Nirmala Gowda, Nidhi Paliwal and Madhuri Mandava will provide context and voice perspectives on the use and abuse of Bengaluru’s rivers.

Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka, is often referred to as an economic engine of the nation. The software boom of 1990s was followed by massive concretisation of the city’s natural spaces, including waterbodies. 

This metamorphosised a city of lakes’ into a city of burning lakes’ after Bellandur Lake repeatedly caught fire. Having polluted the local rivers and lakes to the extent that it is unusable, the city now draws water from the distant Cauvery river. Currently, that is not enough. The city has gone far away, to Netravathi river, in the ecologically fragile Western Ghats.

This Dialogue on the Rivers of Bengaluru aims to give context and voice perspectives on the use and abuse of Bengaluru’s rivers – namely, Vrishabhavathi, Arkavathi and Dakshin Pinakini, by presenting the work of Paani.Earth, an initiative launched earlier this year with a vision of empowering citizens with maps, data, information and analysis for the conservation of rivers.

About the speakers

Nirmala Gowda

A computer science engineer by education and profession, Nirmala Gowda last worked for Novartis in the US. Intending to learn and understand environmental issues, she obtained an MSc in Environmental Management from University of San Francisco. 

She has volunteered with several environmental organisations like Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, etc. She loves to work on River Pollution, River Rights and Justice issues in the Cauvery basin as a trustee of Bangalore Environment Trust.

Over the past few years, she has authored several articles and reports: My mother is the river. The river is my mother., Bengaluru is hot. Steel flyover will make it hotter, it needs to be dropped, Bellandur Lake reports, BLINDSIDED, Brewing Farmer Crisis in the Byramangala Tank Region.

Nidhi Paliwal

A dentist by education and profession, Nidhi Paliwal has practiced dentistry for 15 years in various hospitals, including Manipal. Seeing frequent fires on Bellandur Lake from her balcony, she was shocked to discover that a lake could catch fire. As a trustee of Bangalore Environment Trust, she now engages with the government and communities on industrial pollution and conservation of lakes and rivers.

Madhuri Mandava

An Electronics and Communication Engineer with an MS in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, Madhuri Mandava last worked for Hughes Network Systems in the US. Returning to India, unwittingly, she took up residence next to the heavily polluted and biologically dead Vrishabhavathi River. Appalled by the state of the river, she dove head-on to address it by engaging with the government and concerned citizens.