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Seven major lakes drying up in India 2024

Jal Jeevan Mission, Amrit Sarovar Mission, and more exist to provide water and rejuvenate water bodies across India. The numbers on paper gauge India's great progress. However, urbanization has engulfed several lakes in the major Indian cities.

By Ground report
New Update
7 Lakes that are drying up in India

India, as a country, has just 4% of the world's total freshwater resources while hosting more than 16% of the world's population. In 2018, NITI Aayog published a report stating that 600 million Indians, or at least half of the country's population, are facing a severe water crisis. Furthermore, three-quarters of households in India do not have access to safe piped drinking water, leading them to rely on potentially unsafe water sources that pose a significant health risk. This highlights the urgent need for sustainable and equitable water management policies to ensure adequate access to clean water for all.

Jal Jeevan Mission, Amrit Sarovar Mission, and more exist to provide water and rejuvenate water bodies across India. The numbers on paper gauge India's great progress. However, urbanization has engulfed several lakes in the major Indian cities.

Chennai, a city with a population of nearly five million, faced a severe water crisis as its main reservoir, Lake Puzhal, almost dried up, according to satellite surveys from June 2019. The city's four main water reservoirs are nearly depleted, forcing four million people to depend on undrinkable water from makeshift wells. Not just Chennai; Bangalore and Delhi, most of India faces the similar issue. As per last census in 2011, the availability of water per person per year has come to 70% in last 60 years to 1,545. And, it would have become much worse in last decade considering erratic monsoons, and soarching summers.

Rainfall runoff doesn’t reach many lakes

India is already water-stressed, with some parts in the water scarce category. In addition, the shrinking lakes in most parts of the country also testify the exacerbating water situation. 

  • Wular Lake

The Wular lake in Kashmir is the largest freshwater lake in India, and the second-largest fresh-water lake in Asia. As per a Putlizer centre report, between 1980-2018, the lake has shrunk by 25%. In the North of Kashmir, the lake has been subejcted to sewage, industrial, and horticulture waste. The rise of willow planatation, and industry is another reason behind the choking of Wular lake. 

  • Dal Lake

Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kahsmir has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s. In the records of the year 1900, the size of Dal Lake is 26 sq km, which has been reduced to just 11.5 sq km. Enroachment, sewage dump, rapid urbanisation have reduced the size of the lake, at the same time hampered the quality water which in turn kills the biodiversity because of the lake.

  • Naini Lake

The identity of Nainital district in Uttarakhand may not be shrinking in size, but its depth is continuously decreasing. According to environmentalist Dr. Sujata Bisht, the lake had a depth of 96 meters in 1987. Now the depth is reduced to 27 meters. The rest of the lakes in the district are also in trouble.

  • Lake Chilka

This lake, which falls in the Puri district of Odisha, is the second largest lake in India. This lake is also a confluence of sweet and salt water. According to local residents, the maximum depth of Chilka Lake was 3-6 meters 30–40 years ago. Today it has been reduced to only one and a half meter.

  • Banquet tables

The famous lake Bhoja Tal of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is also constantly shrinking. In the satellite images of 2017, Bhoja Tal was spread over 2400 hectares. In 2019, the tal was reduced to just 700 hectares.

  • Belander Lake

This lake in Bengaluru made headlines for the first time in 2015, when it became very foamy and smoke started to rise. Due to encroachment, this lake has lost 95 percent of its share in the last 20 years. In some places, it looks like a drain.

  • Lost lakes of chennai

Researchers at Chennai's Anna University claimed, based on the city map of 1893, that there were more than 60 lakes and ponds in the center of Madras at one time. Due to indiscriminate urbanization, only seven big lakes are left in Chennai. Groundwater in the city has almost gone.

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