JWARP  Vol.10 No.6 , June 2018
Dying Traditional Water Bodies in India Struggling to Survive against Unplanned Development
Abstract: India is endowed with diverse and distinctive traditional water bodies. They support large human population and biodiversity but are under continuous stress, caused primarily by demographic pressure and unplanned growth. There has been a decline in their water quality and quantity and several of them have vanished, thanks to improper monitoring of these water bodies. This research study was conducted in Meerut district to help government in identifying status of traditional water bodies and suggest steps necessary for protection of these water bodies. Similar research framework, with minor customization, could be applied to any other district in India. Meerut district, with a population of around 3.5 million people is in an abysmal state as the rivers and groundwater are highly polluted. The last resort—the traditional water bodies are also getting transformed into sewage ponds. A field based research was undertaken—which involved on-ground survey using GPS, GIS mapping & water quality testing of 120 ponds, distributed across 12 blocks of Meerut district to acquire a practical understanding of the status of these water bodies. The research team also did an informal discussion with around 500 residents, located nearby ponds, to understand the water situation of the locality. Results show that more than 50% of water bodies are severely polluted (with D.O below 5mg/l) and total dissolved solids (more than 100 NTU). Fecal contamination was observed in all the ponds that were analyzed. The major problems are excessive nutrient pollution, leading to eutrophication, and sewage contamination. The spatial analysis finds out that around half the ponds have reduced in area. With around 100 upcoming cities in India and most of the cities already experiencing water scarcity, it is essential to digitize, monitor, control & prevent pollution and most essentially make the people and grassroots institutions aware in order to protect these essential water bodies from getting extinct.
Cite this paper: Sugam, R. , Gupta, B. and Deka, D. (2018) Dying Traditional Water Bodies in India Struggling to Survive against Unplanned Development. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 10, 539-558. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2018.106030.

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