The term Madivala translates to ‘washer man’, The Cholas (one of the longest ruling dynasties in South India) played major role in the construction of the wetland 300 years ago to meet the needs of the local community. Madivala wetland is one of the largest wetlands in Bangalore situated in the BTM Layout spread over 114.3 hectare.
The wetland, surrounded by residential complexes is a beautiful amalgamation of urban landscape and nature’s bliss. It is open for boating and site seeing; and is under the management and maintenance of Karnataka State Forest Department.
Madivala Wetland is a thriving ecosystem and is home to many migratory and resident birds. Forty-Four species of birds have been recorded in the wetland. Significant ones include Spot billed Pelican, Spot-bill Duck, Great Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Painted Stork, Pond Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Little Egret, Pariah Kite, Indian Darter, Brahminy Kite, Ashy Wren-warbler, Cattle Egret, White-breasted Kingfisher, White Ibis, Purple Moorhen, Jungle Crow, Large Pied Wagtail, Black Drongo, Bronze Winged Jacana, Marsh Harrier, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Purple-rumped Sunbird, Common Sandpiper, Pied Bushchat, White-breasted Waterhen and Median Egret. This wetland is one of the few breeding sites for the Spot billed Pelicans; their nests are seen in the wetland across all seasons.
Madiwala wetland, like other urban wetland in the country is impacted by rapid urban sprawl which threatens its existence. Changes in the land-use/land cover in the catchment have resulted in the inflow of sewage into the wetland, which has deteriorated the water quality of the wetland. The wetland is critically important for the city, as it provides resilience against extreme natural calamities such as floods and droughts besides rendering important ecosystem services like ground water recharge, carbon sequestration, water quality improvement The wetland is in a eutrophic state due to excessive nutrients in the sewage which has resulted in profuse growth of weeds like water hyacinth and algae which further degrades the wetland’s health.
WWF-India is working towards creating awareness on the biodiversity and threats facing the wetland through community engagement and public outreach. WWF-India works with the Forest Department on various wetland conservation activities like de-weeding, assessment of wetland health, Biodiversity surveys, developing management plan for the wetland etc. We are jointly working on a proposal for declaring the wetland as a conservation reserve.
WWF-India is also piloting an in-situ water treatment system, which will include a combination of artificial aeration devices, and constructed wetlands to improve the water quality.