Wetlands are vital sponges in the city. They prevent flood and recharge groundwater. Along with being an aesthetic entity, they provide social, economic and environmental beneficiaries. They improve the quality of water and also sustain the surrounding diverse flora and fauna (aquatic and wild life habitat). Being rich in nutrients, they provide a diverse and productive ecosystems for the natural environment to survive.
Wetlands have always been critical for Indian cities. Every city gave its land for rain.
In the past CSE reported and brought together people who are concerned with the protection of these water bodies. CSE has been facilitating a forum where the lake protectors can come together to learn from each other. The organisation has created a database of these endangered water bodies, collected information on how people are fighting for the restoration of these lakes in courts and is also bringing people together through meetings. CSE has also compiled successful case studies of lake revival across India.
The aim is to feed the policy making/maker with a backgrounder – a paper documenting key concerns as well as policy steps required along with roles and responsibilities for enabling lakes/waterbodies protection in urban areas.
Churning Still Water - Briefing Paper on Urban Waterbodies
Urban waterbodies play an important role in flood control, groundwater recharge and water supply to help cities adapt to climate change effects.
Today these waterbodies are encroached, full of sewage, garbage or just filled up and built over. “Churning still water”, CSE's briefing paper on the state of urban waterbodies, conservation and management in India, has tried to bring out the threats to the urban waterbodies in India. The paper has also reviewed the existing policies, acts and laws to tackle the loss of these bodies of water.
The Ministry of Urban Development has acknowledged the lack of skilled man power in urban local bodies across India and has therefore developed the ‘Capacity Building Scheme for Urban Local Bodies’ (CBULB). The programme aims to enhance knowledge, skills and attitude of city officials for the mainstreaming of reforms and best management practices (BMPs) of sustainable water and wastewater management through training programmes followed with field exposure visit, seminars and workshops.
‘Septage’ is both solid and liquid waste that accumulates in onsite sanitation systems (OSS) e.g. septic tanks. This has three main components – scum, effluent and sludge. It has an offensive odour, appearance and contains significant levels of grease, grit, hair, debris and pathogenic micro organisms. The construction and management of OSS are left largely to ineffective local practices and there is lack of holistic septage management practices.