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Study to assess damage to Dal Lake

Srinagar, India: The Jammu and Kashmir State Government in India has announced that it will conduct satellite studies on the catchment areas of Dal Lake to assess damage and change in land use during the past one decade. The Dal catchment has witnessed a drastic change due to human interference and massive change in land use particularly in the past 10 years, which has led to heavy influx of silt and other harmful nutrients into the lake—triggering unbridled growth of weeds.

GreaterKashmir.com reported that the study will enable to identity threats to the Dal catchment which hosts its major water sources and formulate a scientific strategy for long-term conservation of the eco-fragile zone. For conducting the GIS and remote sensing study, the Government in association with the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) has invited bids from experienced consultancies in India.

“Since the launch of the Dal Conservation Project in 1997, there has definitely been a drastic change in the catchment and we need to measure and include it in our conservation measures,” the vice-chairperson of LAWDA, Irfan Yasin said. Yasin added that the information gathered through the GIS and remote sensing technology will not only assess the damage but help design and upgrade the LAWDA’s catchment conservation measures accordingly.

“Even after restoration of the Dal Lake, we have to ensure long-term conservation of its catchment as it has direct bearing on the water body. We have devised such a system so that only the experienced and technically capable firms will be selected for the scientific study of catchment,” Yasin continued.

Studies conducted by the Geophysics Department of the University of Kashmir reveal that there has been decrease in forest area in the Dal catchment due to increase in human settlements particularly from 1991 to 2001.

Dal is fed by Marsar, a glacial oligotrophic alpine lake through two main sub-watersheds Dhara Danihama and Dachigam falling in its catchment. Spanning over 337 sq kms, the lake’s catchment comprises of human habitations, denuded mountains, karewas, perennial plants, open scrub, agricultural fields and barren land.

Source: GreaterKashmir.com