Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, October 21, 2019

Kashmir’s water bodies dying fast

 

Srinagar: The capacity of the valley’s water retaining bodies is getting reduced at an alarming rate due to the growing siltation and encroachment.

 

The Kashmir valley has received devastating floods in the month of the September last year for which the experts attribute the climate change and human intervention.

 

The water absorbing basins of Kashmir including Wular Lake and wetlands like Hokersar, Shalbugh and Haigam have witnessed enormous siltation from past few decades.

 

If reports are to be believed the area of one of the Asia’s largest fresh water lake Wular has shrunk from 200sq km to 25 sq km from last few decades.

 

The siltation has contributed to the 20 percent of the reduction in water retaining capacity of Wular Lake.

 

Further reports suggest that the lake has lost more than 70 percent of its surface due to the encroachments by the villages living around the lake.

 

Similarly regarding the wetlands, the growing siltation has also become one of the prime concern for the government.

 

The Hokersar which once used to retain  huge quantity of flood water has shown a huge growth of siltation thus reducing its capacity to manifold. 

 

As per the 2015 Asian Water bird Census (AWC), conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Department Haigam wetland has shrunk by half in the past 26 years. Haigam has drastically reduced from a sprawling 1400 hectares in 1988 to 725 hectares to present, the report says.

 

Meanwhile the Irrigation and Flood Control departments in its report to Government of India mentioned about the growing siltation of the Kashmir’s water retaining bodies.

 

After floods hit most parts of the Kashmir, the government of India has sought report from the I&FC department regarding the measures to be taken in future to minimize floods.

 

“It is true that Wular like any other water retaining body has shown huge siltation from past few decades. Recently the silt and sand was removed from Wular which developed revenue of Rs.7 crore. Our flood channels like Doodh Gangha and Narkara which earlier would retain water for more than two days were flooded in just 18 hours during recent floods,” said  Chief Engineer I&FC, Javed Jaffer.

 

He said that they have listed some of the measures to be taken to minimize  floods in future.“We listed that huge afforestation is required. Similarly dredging , creation of new water storages and new spill channels is needed,” Javed added.

 

Source:

http://www.kashmirmonitor.in/news-kashmir%E2%80%99s-water-bodies-dying-fast-80786.aspx