Ministry of Environment and Forests has been implementing the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) since 2001 for conservation and management of polluted and degraded lakes in urban and semi-urban areas. The major objectives of NLCP include encouraging and assisting state Governments for sustainable management and conservation of lakes. Initially the scheme was approved as a 100% Centrally-sponsored scheme, but was changed to 70-30 cost-sharing between Centre and State, from 2002. Since resources are limited a criteria was developed for prioritizing of lakes which needed to be conserved first.
Lakes being major sources of accessible fresh water, require well planned, sustainable and scientific efforts to prevent their degradation and ultimate death. The different problems encountered in the lake include excessive influx of sediments from the lake catchment, discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage & industrial waste waters/solid waste disposal, entry of diffused source nutrients from agricultural and forestry, improper management of storm water/combined with over abstraction, over-exploitation of lake for activities like recreation, fishing, encroachments, land reclamation resulting in lake shrinkage, shoreline erosion and impact on lake hydrology, deterioration in water quality and impact on bio diversity, climate change etc.
Activities covered under NLCP are:
Prevention of pollution from point sources by intercepting, diverting and treating the pollution loads entering the lake. The interception and diversion works may include sewerage & sewage treatment for the entire lake catchment area.
(i) In situ measures of lake cleaning such as de-silting, de-weeding, bioremediation, aeration, bio-manipulation, nutrient reduction, withdrawal of anoxic hypolimn ion, constructed wetland approach or any other successfully tested eco-technologies etc depending upon the site conditions.
(ii) Catchment area treatment which may include afforestation, storm water drainage, silt traps etc.
(iii) Strengthening of bund, lake fencing, shoreline development etc.
(iv) Lake front eco-development including public interface.
(v) Solid waste management & provision of dhobi ghats is generally not covered under NLCP.
(vi) Prevention of pollution from non-point sources by providing low cost sanitation.
(vii) Public awareness and public participation.
(viii) Capacity building, training and research in the area of Lake Conservation.
(ix) Any other activity depending upon location specific requirements.
Existing legal provisions are:
- The Water (Prevention and Control) of Pollution Act 1974
- Environment (Protection) Act 1986
- The National Environment Policy 2006