General Studies Lakes in India
Our Aquatic Beauty & Resources…
A lake is a body of water found inland and is not a part of an ocean or sea. Lakes are fed by rivers and are larger and deeper than a pond. India is interspersed with water bodies, such as, rivers, lakes, ponds and others. As far as the lakes of India are concerned, there are both natural and man-made lakes to be found across the subcontinent
The location of the various lakes in India is an added attraction for the travellers. It is difficult to trace the history of the natural lakes of India. But the man-made ones have a historical background, since most of these were built by kings and emperors as reservoirs. The lakes of India are generally categorized as fresh water and brackish lakes.
Major Lakes in India
Durgam Cheruvu It is a freshwater lake located in Rangareddy (Andhra Pradesh), spread over 83 acres (34 ha), is situated near the city of Hyderabad. The lake is also known as ‘Secret Lake’ because it is hidden between the localities of Jubilee Hills and Madhapur. Under the rule of the Qutub Shahi dynasty (1518-1687), this lake served as the drinking water source for the residents of Golconda Fort.
Kolleru Lake This is the second largest freshwater lake located in Andhra Pradesh between Krishna and Godavari delta. The lake was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in November, 1999 under India’s Wildlife Protection Act-1972 and designated a wetland of international importance in November, 2002 under the international Ramsar Convention. The wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 308 sq km.
Pulicat Lake It is the second largest brackish-water lake in India. It straddles the border of Andhra Pradesh and TamilNadu on the Coromandal coast in South India. The lake encompasses the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary.
See Also :
Dipor Bil Also spelt ‘Deepor BeeT is located to the South-West of Guwahati city in Kamrup district of Asom. It is a permanent freshwater lake, in a former channel of the Brahmaputra river. It is also called a wetland under the Ramsar Convention, which has listed the lake in November, 2002 as a Ramsar Site.
Cbandubi Lake It is natural lake located in Kamrup district of lower Asom at a distance of 64 km from the city of Guwahati. The lake is located at the foot of Garo hills surrounded by Asom and Meghalaya. The place is calm and peaceful covered by deep forest, tea garden and small and distinct villages. It is natural sight seeing and picnic spot.
Kanwar Taal The Kan war Taal or Kabar Taal Lake (at Begusarai, Bihar) is Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake. It is approximately three times the size of the Bharatpur Sanctuary.
Nal Sarovar It is situated about 64 km to the West of Ahmedabad. It consists of the Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, which is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat, and one of the largest in India. The lake measures 123 sq km, attracts over 210 species of birds in the winter.
Hamirsar Lake It is a large man-made lake situated in heart of Bhuj. It is a 450-year-old lake named after Jadeja ruler Rao Hamir (1525-37), the founder of Bhuj. The lake was built during the reign of Rao Khengarji (1548-85), the founder of Jadeja dynasty in Kutch, who named it after his father Rao Hamir.
Narayan Sarovar It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. It is located in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district. It is one of the five holy ponds in India mentioned in Shrimad Bhagvat.
Maharana Pratap Sagar Also known as Pong Reservoir or Pong Dam Lake was created in 1975. Pong Dam Lake was declared a Ramsar wetland site on account of its rich waterfowl diversity for conservation and sustainable use of the wetland.
Nako Lake It is a high altitude lake in the Pooh sub-division of district. It is about 3662 m (12014 ft) above sea level. The lake is surrounded by willow and poplar trees. Near the lake, there are four Buddhist temples. Near this place there is a foot like impression ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava. Brighu Lake It is a high altitude lake which is located in Kullu district. It is about 4235 m above the sea level. It lies East of the Rohtang Pass and is about 6 km from the village of Gulaba. This lake is held sacred to the sage, Brighu.
Surajkund It is an ancient reservoir of the 10th century, 2 km (1.2 mi) away to the South-West from a more ancient dam of the 8th century called the Anagpur Dam; both are located in Haryana. It is said to have been built by the Tomar king Suraj Pal of Tomar dynasty in the 10th century.
Tilyar Lake It is one of the major tourist attractions in the Indian State of Haryana. It is 70 km from New Delhi on the Delhi-Fazilka highway and is located close to the city of Rohtak in Haryana.
Jammu & Kashmir
Dal Lake This lake is in Srinagar and is the second largest in the State, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is nicknamed the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir’ or ‘Srinagar’s Jewel’. The lake has numerous sites and places of interest. Aside from the Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, some of the other places frequented by tourists are the Shankaracharya temple, the Hari Parbat, the Nagin Lake, the Chashme Shahi, the Hazratbal shrine Wular Lake India’s largest fresh-water lake and one of the largest in Asia, is in Bandipora district in the Jammu and Kashmir. The lake basin was formed as a result of tectonic activity and is fed by the Jhelum river.
Beltandur Lake It is a lake which lies to the South-East of the city of Bengaluru, and is the largest lake in the city. It is a part of Bellandur drainage system that drains the Southern and the South-Eastern parts of the city.
Ashtatnudi Lake It lies in the Kollam district of Kerala and is the second largest and deepest. The lake is also called the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Ashtamudi wetland was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention.
Vembanad Lake It is the longest lake in India and the largest lake in the state of Kerala. It is also one of the largest lakes in India. Government of India has identified the Vembanad wetland under National Wetlands Conservation Programme.
Tawa Reservoir It is a large reservoir on the Tawa river in Central India. It is located in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. The reservoir was formed by the construction of the Tawa Dam.
Lonar Lake It is a saline soda lake located at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra. Biological nitrogen fixation was discovered in this lake in 2007.
Umiam Lake It is a reservoir located in the hills 15 km to the North of Shillong in the State of Meghalaya, India. It was created by damming the Umiam river in the early 1960s. The principal catchment area of the lake and dam is spread over 220 sq km.
Loktak Lake It is the largest freshwater lake in North-East India, also called the only floating lake in the world due to the floating phumdis located near Moirang in Manipur. The Keibul Larnjao National Park, which is the last natural refuge of the endangered sangai, is located here.
Palak Dil Also called ‘Pala Tipo’ (in Mara language) is the biggest lake in Mizoram in North-East India.
Ropar Lake Also named ‘Ropar wetland’, is a man-made fresh-water riverine and lacustrine wetland. This important ecological zone is located in the Shivalik foothills of the lower Himalayas and was created in 1952 on the Sutlej river.
Pushkar Lake or Pushkar Sarovar is located in the town of Pushkar in Ajmer District. It is a sacred lake of the Hindus. The Hindu scriptures describe as it as Tirtha-Raj-the king of pilgrimage sites.
Sambhar Salt Lake India’s largest inland salt lake, sits 96 km South-West of the city of Jaipur (North-West India) and 64 km North-East of Ajmer along NH-8 in Rajasthan.
Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim, some 40 km (25 mi) away from Gangtok at altitude of 3780 m (12400 ft).The road to Nathu La passes the lake on Northside. Indian Postal Service released a commemorative stamp on the lake on November 6, 2006.
Kodaikanal Lake Also known as ‘Kodai Lake’ is a man-made lake located in the Kodaikanal city in Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu. Sir Vere Henry Levinge, the then Collector of Madurai, was instrumental in creating the lake in 1863. The lake is said to be Kodaikanal’s most popular geographic landmark and tourist attraction.
Belasagar Lake It is situated 10 km south of Kulpahar in Belatal village of Uttar Pradesh. This lake is a source for irrigation in the area. This lake is also known as Bela Taal locally.
Rabindra Sarobar Previously known as Dhakuria Lake, is an artificial lake in South Kolkata in West Bengal. It is popularly referred to as the Lungs of Calcutta.
Legal Support and Policy Framework
The lakes and wetlands are presently not covered by specific legal statute but several legislation enacted till date have relevance and provisions for conservation of lakes. Some of these are
♦ Forest Conservation Act, 1980
♦ The Wildlife Act, 1972
♦ The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
♦ The Environment (Protection) Act, 1956 The National Environmental Policy (NEP) 2006 also seeks for setting up of a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism for lakes and wetlands to prevent their degradation and enhance their conservation.
The International conventions which cover all aspects of lakes, in the name of wetlands, and on which India has been a signatory are
♦ Ramsar Convention
♦ Convention on Biological Diversity
♦ World Heritage Convention
♦ Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wildlife Animals
♦ United Nations Development Programme
♦ World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for Nature
There is no unique of rigid classification. It depends on the context and the classifier. The commonly perceived classifications are as follow :
■ Geographical classification like Himalayan, peninsular, coastal etc.
■ Liminological classification like fresh’ water, brackish water etc.
■ Functional classification like irrigation, water supply, hydropower etc.
■ Water quality classification.
■ Management classification.
♦ The largest freshwater lake in India is Wular Lake.
♦ The largest non-fresh water lake in India is Chilika Lake.
♦ The world’s second largest brackish lagoon is Chilika Lake.
♦ The largest man-made lake on the I subcontinent is Nagarjun Sagar Lake.
♦ The largest freshwater complex in j I North-Eastern India is Loktak Lake.
Significance of Lakes in India
The lakes in India are considered religiously significant. The various popular lakes of India include names like Pushkar Lake in Rajasthan, Gumdongmar Lake in Sikkim, Nako Lake, Bhirgu Cake, Dal Lake and Others. Ivlost ot tne lakes in India are renowned for their
The striking beauty of lakes of India, like Vembanad Lake (Kerala), Bhimtal Lake (Uttarakhand), etc, has made them favourite haunts for the tourists. The lakes of Rajasthan add vitality to the colossal forts and palaces. Many of these such as Fateh Sagar in Udaipur, are man-made ones.
India is a agro-based country and the water bodies, here are utilized for irrigation. The lakes of India are one of the primary sources for this water supply. Such water bodies are spread across India. While the North India, the State of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and others are popular for lakes; in South India it is Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and others.
They moderate temperatures and affect the climate of the surrounding land. They store water, thereby helping to regulate stream flow, recharge ground water aquifers; and moderate droughts.
They also provide habitat to aquatic and semiaquatic plants and animals, which in turn provide food for many terrestrial animals, and they add to the diversity of the landscape.
The lakes and reservoirs, all over the country are in varying degrees of environmental degradation. The degradation is due to encroachments eutrophication (from domestic and industrial effluents) and silt. There has been a quantum jump in population during the last century without corresponding expansion of civic facilities resulting in lakes and reservoirs, especially the Urban ones, becoming sinks for contaminants. The main causes for the impaired conditions of the lakes could be summarized as under
■ Nutrients from wastewater from municipal and domestic effluents.
■ Organic, inorganic and toxic pollution from industrial effluents.
■ Storm water run-off.
■ Nutrients through fertilizers, toxic pesticides and other chemicals, mainly from agricultural run-off.
■ Organic pollution from human settlements spread over areas along the periphery of the lakes and reservoirs.
Basin-Related Causes of Impairment
■ Silting of lakes on account of increased erosion as a result of expansion of urban and agricultural areas, deforestation, road construction and such other land disturbances taking place in the drainage basin.
■ Diversion of rivers feeding the lakes reducing their sizes.
■ Untreated or inadequately treated domestic and industrial effluents from point sources located all over the basin.
■ Competition for using lake water such as for drinking, irrigation, hydropower etc.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has been implementing the National Lake Conservation Plan since 2001 for conservation and management of polluted and degraded lakes in urban and semi-urban areas.
The objective of the scheme is to restore and conserve the urban and semi-urban lakes of the country degraded due to water discharge into the lake and other unique freshwater system, through an integrated ecosystem approach.
The programme includes
♦ Prevention of pollution from point and non-point sources.
♦ Catchment area treatment.
♦ Desilting and weed control.
♦ Research and development studies on flora and fauna.
♦ Other lake specific activities such as integrated development approach, including interface with human populations.
♦ Under the NLCP, the Central and State governments share the costs in the ratio of 70 : 30. 21 Urban lakes have been identified for conservation programmes.