Environmental implications: Recent flooding in Hyderabad, which was caused by reclamation of urban lakes and encroachment, has brought to light the significance of water bodies for a sustainable urban landscape.
• In the 1960s, Bangalore had 262 lakes, but by 2021, there will be only 10 lakes remaining.
• Ahmedabad: At least 137 lakes were recorded in Ahmedabad in 2001, with construction occurring on a number of them.
• started on 65 lakes.
• Due to unplanned urbanisation, 3,245 hectares of wetland have disappeared from Hyderabad.
• Urban Flooding: Increased risk of floods and other natural disasters as a result of urbanisation of major waterways
• structures of the cities According to the NDMA report Management of urban flooding, 31% of the country was flooded in 2005.
• urbanised in 2011, obstructing natural watercourses and streams.
• Example: Mumbai, which lost 71% of its wetland area between 1970 and 2014, is experiencing an increase in the frequency of floods.
• Due to reclamation of water bodies in coastal regions, earthquakes and other natural disasters are exacerbated.
• soil liquefaction.
Formation of sodic soils that form an impermeable crust, thereby reducing infiltration and causing water scarcity.
• Example: The drying up of Badkhal Lake in Faridabad has caused severe water shortages in the city.
• Vegetation loss As a result of a decrease in groundwater recharge and soil fertility, vegetation will be lost in the affected areas.
• Example: unsustainable sand extraction from Vembanad Lake (Kochi) has reduced the region’s vegetation.
• Landfills: The growing trend of converting water bodies into landfills causes significant harm, including groundwater contamination and the release of toxic gases such as aldehydes and nitrogen oxides.
• Example: Guwahati’s Deeporbeel and Chennai’s Pallikarni marshes are used as garbage dumps
• Loss of biodiversity: Many species will be unable to adapt to the altered environment and may perish as a result.
• serious population declines
• e Example: Hussain Sagar Lake in Telangana experienced an increase in BOD due to land reclamation, which had a negative impact on aquatic and aerial fauna.
• Pollution: The reclamation of water bodies causes various types of pollution, ranging from plastic to radioactive waste.
• pollution to heavy metal pollution.
• e Example: the encroachment of water bodies in West Bengal led to a high concentration of arsenic in the drinking water.
• Loss of ecosystem services Urban lakes are a source of food, water, medicines, and biofuels; therefore, the loss of ecosystem services would be detrimental.
• Reclamation of water bodies decreased the value of the ecosystem.
Charkop Lake in Maharashtra and Ousteri Lake in Puducherry are examples.
• Landscape degradation: illegal mining for construction materials such as sand and quartzite in the United States
• the presence of water bodies had negative effects on the urban ecosystem.
• Example: Jaisamand Lake in Jodhpur, once the city’s only source of potable water, has been drained.
• enduring illegal mining in the catchment area despite a court order to stop for the past two decades
• mining in 1999,
Urban water bodies provide a range of values and uses, from ecological goods and services to direct production values. Therefore, their conservation through wastewater treatment and non-encroachment is essential and is only possible through the government’s and citizens’ collective and coordinated efforts.
• Degradation of water ecology: The transformation of urban land results in the construction of residential and commercial buildings, such as houses and restaurants, near water bodies, resulting in the degradation of water ecology and the influx of nutrients. Such as Dal Lake in Sri Nagar.
• Increased frequency of flooding: Since water bodies act as sponges for additional precipitation, reclamation of water bodies has led to an increase in the frequency of flooding. Between 1970 and 2014, 71 percent of Mumbai’s wetlands disappeared.
• Extinction of species: Hussain Sagar Lake in Telangana’s BOD has increased to 116 mg/l due to land reclamation.
It is detrimental not only to aquatic but also to aerial species.
• Drinking water pollution: Water bodies have a purifying effect by removing contaminants via buffering. The encroachment of water bodies results in the accumulation of toxic chemicals such as arsenic, copper, and chromium in the water table. In West Bengal, for instance, the encroachment of water bodies has led to a high level of arsenic pollution.
Due to soil liquefaction and land subsidence, water reclamation for urban land use in coastal areas may exacerbate earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Water bodies play a crucial role in sustaining the ecosystem. In light of this, their preservation by means of waste water treatment, non-encroachment, and reduced anthropogenic stress, etc., is a necessity.
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