Need to restore wetlands: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister
“Our culture since ages has always promoted water conservation by various means. We have had a long tradition of constructing tanks, ponds and lakes. There is a need of preserving our age-old water structures to avert any crisis in future,” he said. The Chief Minister was speaking at the International Conference on Lakes and Wetlands in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
The conference, organised by Environmental Planning & Coordination Organisation (EPCO), called for a wider and integrated approach for conservation and restoration of wetlands both in the rural and urban areas. The urgency of conservation of wetlands is heightened by the fact that 90 per cent of surface water is available in the impounded form including lakes and other wetlands.
According to the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology projections, climate change will have an extreme impact on Madhya Pradesh leading to stronger winds and more erratic rainfall. Chouhan said, mindset and not money, was a limiting factor when it comes to conservation and restoration of traditional water reservoirs. Madhya Pradesh has around seven lakh water bodies, the Chief Minister said and added that there was a need to connect people for better water conservation efforts.
He said that people’s participation was more important for conservation of wetlands and assured that expert views emerging out of the dialogue on wetlands will be incorporated in the water schemes and policies being implemented in Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Masahisa Nakamura, Chairman, International Lake Environment Committee, said that conservation of wetlands should be an integral part of landscaping. He said that management of wetlands was a complex issue and needed multi-disciplinary approach.
He also highlighted the double standards on the issue of conservation of wetlands. Calling for better coordination among stakeholders of wetlands, Nakamura urged for strengthening governance. Better lake management helps in reducing environmental stress, he said and added that science and technology should be used for efficient management of wetlands.
Dr Lokendra Thakkar, Coordinator Climate Change Division, EPCO, cautioned that more water which would pour as a matter of erratic rains due to climate change in future should be a cause of concern and said better preparedness was needed to mitigate the unforeseen risks of climate change. Bhopal District Collector Nishant Warvade said: “The treasure of traditional wetlands is a heritage which we need to pass to our next generation without causing any further damage to it. People surviving on the basis of a wetland ecosystem are the immediate stakeholders and it is they who bear the brunt in the wake of any imbalance in the natural surroundings of the reservoir,” Warvade said.
– OneWorld Foundation India