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Keywords:

  • India;
  • Integrated Water Resources Management;
  • lake management;
  • reservoirs;
  • tanks

Abstract

India is home to a wide range of water impoundments located in a diversity of climates, stretching from mountain conditions near the Himalayas in the north, to tropical conditions in the south. The impoundments include natural lakes, wetlands and coastal lagoons, as well as constructed reservoirs and tanks. This paper provides an overview of the lake management in India, focusing on wetlands, reservoirs and tanks. While there has never been a thorough survey of the lakes of India, it is possible to discuss the general conditions in which lake management is currently carried out in India. Overall, lakes all over the country are exhibiting varying degrees of environmental degradation caused by encroachments, eutrophication (from domestic and industrial effluents) and siltation. The high population density ensures that many water bodies are under severe and direct pressure from anthropogenic activities in their catchments. Actions to control and prevent these problems are addressed, with a focus on measures such as public interest litigation, the National Lake Conservation Plan, and the Special Purpose Vehicles. The role of national and international institutions is critiqued. Finally, the issues related to gaps in the knowledge base, delays in restoration, lack of coordination, ineffectiveness of legislation, and the general lack of an integrated approach to management are discussed, and possible solutions to these impediments are explored.