Dal gets buffer zones to check heavy nutrient, silt influx

Eco-friendly measure aimed to naturally filter lake’s inflow waters

ARIF SHAFI WANI

Srinagar, Dec 30: Government has created buffer zones around Dal Lake to prevent heavy inflow of obnoxious nutrients, silt and Azolla from its catchment areas.
 Excessive siltation and nutrient inflow into Dal over the decades has led to decrease in the lake’s water holding capacity and propelling growth of weeds.
 Officials said the buffer zones in shape of water channels have been created along the Hazratbal basin in Northern Foreshore Road which receives tons of nutrients and silt from mountainous catchment areas.
 The creation of buffer zones is part of the Dal Conservation Plan. The State Government through the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), entrusted with Dal conservation, has created these buffer zones which includes silt and nutrient settling ponds.
 “These buffer zones will prevent influx of silt and nutrients into the lake through 14 inflow channels. These buffer zones will filter the water before it enters into the Dal Lake. In the long-term, this will help us to control growth of weeds and siltation in Dal,” Vice-Chairperson LAWDA, Irfan Yasin, told Greater Kashmir.
 Last year the LAWDA had created artificial wetlands at vulnerable spots in the Dal Lake to prevent nutrient influx.
 “Artificial wetlands were created inside Dal while these buffer zones are located outside the lake. The buffer zones have high capacity to check nutrient and silt influx. Infact we have diverted treated waters of Sewage Treatment Plant at Habak to one of the buffer zones. Scientific tests have revealed that waters treated in buffer zones is according to the prescribed parameters,” Yasin said.
 According to an estimate 40,000-50,000 tons of dead and allochthonous material including silt and nutrients are added annually to the lake resulting in reduction of its depth and propelling growth of weeds in the lake.
 Dal receives its waters from Marsar, a glacial oligotrophic alpine lake through two main sub-watersheds Dhara Danihama and Dachigam. Before reaching the lake, the waters pass through denuded mountains carrying tons of silt with it.
 The problem is compounded as the catchment area spanning over 337 Sq. kms comprises of human habitations, denuded mountains, karewas, perennial plants, open scrub, agricultural fields and barren land.
 With even a light rainfall, tons of sediments and pollutants also make way into the lake drastically affecting its eco-system. Due to deforestation and soil erosion over the years in the catchment areas of the lake, the silt and nutrients flow into it, causing siltation and growth of exotic weeds.
 LAWDA has been over the past few years carrying out scientific measures including constructions of Gabian dams and afforestation to tap the silt inflow.
 “Creating buffer zones is one of the components of our catchment treatment measures. Over the years, we have undertaken massive plantation and anti-soil erosion measures in the lake’s catchment areas to minimize inflow of silt and nutrients. These buffer zones will acts as barriers for solid waste, silt, nutrients, phosphorous and noxious water fern Azolla,” Yasin said.   
 Long term data base generated by the Research and Monitoring Division of LAWDA has established that streams carrying fresh water to Dal are loaded with nutrients which are harmful to the lake and are enhancing the enrichment levels.
 Yasin said the buffer zones have been designed in such a way that inflow water is filtered a naturally before it enters Dal.
 “Creation of buffer zones is part of the Dal Conservation Plan prepared by Roorke University,” Yasin said.
 AEE (East) LAWDA’s Division Ist Feroz Ahmad said most of the buffer zones from Nishat to Habak are functional.
 “We have started work on the beautification of its banks according to the Dal Conservation Plan. We will also also install foundations in these buffer zones,” Feroz said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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