This paper intends to evaluate the legal and institutional protection available for the conservation of urban water bodies in India and in other parts of the world, particularly in the developed countries. The paper will also explore the technical tools for the management of water bodies.

The Autonomous Authority Will Regulate All Activities Affecting Vital Water Bodies

Gandhinagar: Waking up to the need for conserving the state’s wetlands and lakes, the Gujarat government has decided to constitute a first-of-its-kind Wetlands and Lakes Regulatory and Development Authority. An official associated with the formation of the new authority said, “Wetlands and lakes, both have great ecological and socio-economic importance but as of now they are encroached, damaged or heavily polluted. Hence there is a great need to protect these crucial water bodies.”

State told not to treat eco protection as a soft subject

The State government has failed to implement various Centrally sponsored projects aimed at rejuvenating the Pampa, the Vembanad Lake, and the Kuttanad water system, N.K. Sukumaran Nair, Pampa Parirakshana Samiti (PPS) general secretary, has said. Mr. Nair told The Hindu that the government should stop treating environment protection and nature conservation as soft subjects.

‘Stakeholders, State Govts Should Together Protect All Ramser Sites’

Thiruvananthapuram: Various stakeholders and state governments should come together to protect all Ramser-recognized wetland sites in the country, Infosys CEO Shibulal said. He was speaking at the first national seminar on Ramsar sites and wetland conservation in Alappuzha. India has 26 designated Ramsar sites and wetlands of international importance, with a total surface area of 6,89,131 hectares. While Kashmir, with four sites, tops the number of Ramsar sites in the country, Kerala, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have three such sites each.

This atlas is part of the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment (NWIA) project towards the wetlands of International Importance under Ramsar Convention. These comprise sites constituting representative, rare or unique types and or sites of international importance for conserving biological diversity.

Even amid the hue and cry of environmentalists over the shrinking wetlands, an effort initiated by the Revenue Department to prepare a revised data bank of the actual area of wetlands in the district has reached nowhere.

Though the updated list was expected to be completed by the end of 2012 in the district, many of the villages failed to furnish the latest records other than just forwarding the old records containing smooth figures.

The Cabinet committee on economic affairs is expected to accept the environment ministry’s proposal to create a National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) by merging the existing National Lake Conservation Plan and National Wetlands Conservation Programme.

The objective will be the holistic conservation and restoration of the water quality of lakes and wetlands thereby improving biodiversity. The estimated cost of the proposed project, planned for the 12th Plan period, is `900 crores on 70:30 cost-sharing between the Central government and the respective state governments while for the Northeastern states it will be on a 90:10 basis.

Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority in collaboration with WWF-India have initiated a project on the conservation planning and development of Surajpur wetland in 2010. The study provides an opportunity to protect biodiversity and set an example of how wildlife can be protected and preserved close to urban areas, without hindering the development of the same.

State Accepts Majority Proposals, Rejects Those On Building Code, Dams

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has accepted a majority of recommendations made by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel.

This was conveyed to Dr K Kasturirangan committee that visited the state last week. The expert review committee is reviewing the Madhav Gadgilchaired WGEEP report after states, including Kerala, raised several objections to it. Kerala has in principle accepted that there would be no development in water bodies, biodiversity rich areas and sacred groves. It would also conserve wetlands in accordance with the Wet Land Conservation Rule 2010 and the Kerala Conservation of Wetland and Paddy Land Conservation Act, 2008.

A dead mallard was found by a team of the Wildlife Conservation Fund, an international NGO, during its one-day field trip in the Fashkoori Wetland Conservation Reserve at Tulbagh in Pampore on January 11.

Locals have been complaining about poaching incidents in the area. The NGO conducted the field trip after receiving several complaints from the locals about bird poaching in the area. The team found the dead mallard with a gunshot injury and one wing missing. It also found a net made of nylon threads, locally known as “waalwaaish”, used for catching water fowls in the wetlands.