Water Body Rejuvenation

The first human civilizations grew in river valleys. Some prominent civilisations established long ago were Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley, and the Yellow River. Mesopotamia was an early civilization between the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates. The name Mesopotamia means “Between the rivers” in Greek.

The presence of rivers played a crucial role in the development of civilization.

They provided essential resources such as drinking water, irrigation, and trading opportunities. Additionally, the yearly floods of rivers enriched the soil, leading to increased food production and the possibility for some individuals to engage in non-agricultural occupations.

Rivers play a vital role in the natural water drainage in an area, with their patterns shaped by geological factors, topography, and water flow. They are significant resources for ecosystems and human societies, making their health essential for sustainable development.

India has many rivers flowing through it. The country has 14 major river basins and 44 medium river basins. Additionally, there are 2.4 million water bodies in different parts of India. West Bengal has the most ponds and reservoirs, Andhra Pradesh has the most tanks, Tamil Nadu has the most lakes, and Maharashtra is the leading state for water conservation schemes. These water bodies serve important purposes like irrigation, fisheries, recreation, and religious functions. They also help mitigate the heat island effect in urban areas. 

Water bodies in India are facing a crisis due to urbanization, population pressure, and encroachment. Local surface water bodies have been neglected as reliance on groundwater has increased.

Consequently, water bodies are frequently treated as waste disposal sites. Urban concretization has disrupted the natural flow pattern of water bodies, leading to flash floods and erosion. Additionally, over-exploitation of groundwater has depleted aquifers, impacting the base flow of rivers.

Water bodies are threatened by solid and liquid pollution. Unplanned urban growth, lack of infrastructure, and weak enforcement of regulations have led to declining water quality and the destruction of aquatic habitats.The Central Pollution Control Board has identified 351 contaminated river stretches in India, including the Ganga, Yamuna, and Brahmaputra, along with their tributaries. Rejuvenating highly polluted lakes in India is an urgent need identified by the CPCB. 

CDD India’s Approach

CDD India believes in a comprehensive approach to waterbody rejuvenation. This approach considers the water body system’s physical, biological, chemical, and social aspects. It is essential to recognize that different life forms exist at different depths of the water body. The land profile of the water body also has varying ecological profiles at different contours. Additionally, there is an interconnectedness between the life forms in the water and on the adjoining land. This gives each water body a unique contextual and ecological footprint. Therefore, we adopt an integrated planning and management approach incorporating ecological, economic, and cultural values. We prioritize stakeholder engagement, collaboration across disciplines, and sustainable and nature-based solutions to restore the health of water bodies and their ecosystems. This is crucial for overall environmental development and sustainability.