Once hailed as the temple of modern India, the Hirakud Reservoir, Odisha State’s most prominent water infrastructure is stressed due to intermittent inflows, high siltation, pollutants, declining species richness and low fish productivity. The Odisha State Wetlands Authority identified Hirakud Reservoir as a prominent wetland for formulating an integrated management plan. Wetlands International South Asia developed the plan in consultation with all line departments and local stakeholders.
The Chilika Development Authority organized a consultation meeting at Sambalpur on August 28, 2019 to the draft plan prepared by Wetlands International South Asia. The meeting was attended by 35 senior government functionaries from 25-line departments. The diagnostic approach adopted for identifying management objectives and actions was endorsed by all. Key recommendations included creation of community reserves in waterbird habitats, addressing fish closure season and banning use of harmful fishing gears. The District Collector Sambalpur recommended including wetlands of Sambalpur City within the ambit of management planning. We will be incorporating the recommendations in the next iteration of the plan.
Experiences from Hirakud would also pave way for management of other significant reservoirs of the country, such as Pong in Himachal Pradesh on integrated management approaches.