Wetlands Restoration and Conservation
T.V. Ramachandra and N. Ahalya
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India.
Tel: 91-080-3600985 / 309 2506, Fax: 91-080-3601428/ 3600085/3600683 [CES-TVR]
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Citation : T. V. Ramachandra and N. Ahalya, 2001. Wetlands Restoration and Conservation. Proceedings of National Conference on 'Control Of Industrial Pollution and Environmental Degradation'. Department of Civil Engineering, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, September 14th and 15th 2001, pp 262-275.

Wetlands are probably the earth's most important freshwater resource and are also the most threatened. They perform manifold functions in the maintenance of the ecological balance of the region. Some of the important functions include water storage, protection from storms and floods, recharge of ground water, water purification, fisheries, agriculture, wildlife resource, transport, recreation, etc. India is richly endowed with wetlands evident from the high-altitude lakes of the Himalayas; floodplain wetlands of major river systems and their extensive network of tributaries draining from the Indian landmass in all directions. They are fragile ecosystems that are susceptible to damage even with only a little change in the composition of biotic and abiotic factors. They are threatened due to inadequate water holding capacity, excessive withdrawal, pollution due to raw sewage and sullage, industrial effluents, eutrophication, leached fertilizers and insecticides. Bangalore (Karnataka state) is endowed with rich wetland resources that are also facing degradation by the aforementioned threats. The degradation in the water quality affects the floral and faunal population along with the people dependent on these ecosystems. Socio - economic surveys indicate that lakes with water quality conforming to the prescribed standards have a high economic dependence (Rachenahalli - as high as Rs. 10,000/day), whereas for eutrophic lakes, it may be as low as Rs. 20/day (Amrutahalli). This necessitates the need for restoration and formulation of conservation strategies for sustainable management of wetlands. This paper suggests suitable strategies for the restoration of lakes with an overview on the status of wetlands and prevailing legal measures to protect them.