Shrinking Kolleru Lake

Shrinking Kolleru Lake
Highlights

Kolleru, one of the largest freshwater lakes in India, has come into limelight once again after the State government sent proposals to shrink its size further, to enable local aqua farmers facilitate their livelihood.

Kolleru, one of the largest freshwater lakes in India, has come into limelight once again after the State government sent proposals to shrink its size further, to enable local aqua farmers facilitate their livelihood. The lake, which is spread across 77,000 acres presently, is proposed to be shrinked to 45,000 acres.

Covering an area of 2,37,221 acres originally, the lake houses various fish species. It is well known for the migratory birds from other countries which fly down to the lake during the breeding season. Over the last ten years, size of the lake has been reduced to half. Now the government’s proposal to shrink the lakes further will pose a threat to the rivulets that empty into the lake.

Kolleru Lake acts as a natural reservoir to balance the flow of excess river water from Krishna and Godavari deltas. The government’s decision will likely affect people in Eluru and Vijayawada as many low-lying areas will be in danger of being submerged.

The water body was earlier an important tourist destination in the State. Owing to decreasing water levels and area, not many birds currently fly in to the lake. It attracts migratory birds from northern Asia and eastern Europe between the months of October and March. During this season, the lake is visited by an estimated 20,00,000 birds. The resident birds include grey pelicans, Asian open-billed storks, painted storks, glossy ibises, white ibises, teals, pintails and shovellers. The migratory birds include red-crested pochards, blackwinged stilts, avocets, common red shanks, wigeons, gadwalls and cormorants, garganys, herons and flamingos.

A petition regarding the move by the government will come up in Supreme Court in January.

Senior lecturer in zoology N Mathew Srirangam said, “If the contour level is closed down, we may have to face more flooding. Closed outlets will give rise to other channel drains that open up only to inundate the habitat. Kolleru lake is the largest freshwater lake. The decrease of contour will hit future ecological imbalance and reduce endemism. The more the area, the more is the biodiversity. Biodiversity will be a hit as how deforestation has become a concern. It is not ideal to move ahead on the State government’s proposal.’’

By: Ch Sowmya Sruthi

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