Wetlands and Water Management

Wetlands International South Asia - India office has implemented many projects in the theme of wetlands and water management in its region. Below follow some of the most important examples. Others can be found in the project data base.

Mahanadi River Delta

In the Mahanadi Delta, Wetlands International works to making wetlands a critical part of the implementation of water policies by Orissa State government. This means providing the government with the necessary systematic information on wetland ecosystem services and actively engaging in the development of policies. Aim is to make wetland ecosystem services the key components of developing food and water security, as well as adaptation to climate change in the Delta. Read more...

River Yamuna floodplains

Study on River Yamuna floodplains in Delhi stretch carried by Wetlands International – South Asia highlighted its critical role in groundwater recharge, water quality improvement and enhancing biodiversity. The study recommends integration of floodplains into river basin management through water allocation for human and ecological purposes, sustainable use, participatory management and monitoring and evaluation.

Chilika lagoon

As a hotspot for biodiversity and sustaining the livelihoods of over 200,000 fishers and 700,000 farmers, the Chilika lagoon in eastern coast of India is known for its great economic and environmental importance. In 2006, Wetlands International, based on detailed assessments, influenced the state government’s policy for water allocation to Chilika Lagoon. This was the culmination of many years work, following a World Bank funded hydro-biological monitoring project that aimed to assess the linkages of hydrological regimes with the values and functions of the lagoon ecosystem.

Wetlands International South Asia worked in partnership with Chilika Development Authority and others to assess and quantify the hydrological, ecological and  socio-economic consequences of four different water flow scenarios. Based on these assessments and intensive community consultation, a flow scenario maximizing freshwater availability to the lagoon ecosystem that also maintains agricultural productivity within the floodplains was recommended. These recommendations were accepted by the state government, which directed implementation of barrage schedule, operationalising the optimal flow regime.

Loktak Lake

In Loktak Lake, water diversion for hydropower project led to rapid degradation of the lake affecting livelihood of 0.2 million fishers dependant on the its resources for sustenance. Maintenance of constant lake levels to provide water supply for the hydropower project has led to loss of fisheries, rapid proliferation of weeds, deterioration of water quality and most significantly, degradation of habitat of highly endangered ungulate species, Cervus eldieldi.

Assessments and demonstration projects carried by WISA over a period of a decade in partnership with the Loktak Development Authority, research organizations and local communities, led to the formulation of a basin level management action plan. The state government, accepting our recommendations, has initiated an environmental flows assessment, led by WISA, for harmonizing water use for hydropower generation and agriculture with maintenance of lake biodiversity.

Wetlands International South Asia Office studied the ciritical role of the Yamuna river in India