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Dal Lake

Issues and Management Strategies


Dal Lake, a shallow eutrophic lake, located on the North Eastern side of
Srinagar city- the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir - on the right side
of River Jhelum is the largest fresh water wetland of Kashmir Valley, after
Wular Lake. Around 1200 AD, the lake spread over an area of 75 km2. At
present, it covers about 21.1 km2 and has a maximum depth of 5.4 m, and a
shoreline of 15.4 km. Of the total area, only about 11.4 km2 is the water
body. The main receiving body of the watershed is situated between 74 48'N-
75 08'N latitude and 34 'E- 34 'E longitude at an altitude of 1,583 meters
above msl. The lake, which lies to the east and north of Srinagar city covers
an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi), although including the floating
gardens of lotus blooms, it is 21.2 square kilometres (8.2 sq mi) (an
estimated figure of 22–24 square kilometres (8.5–9.3 sq mi) is also
mentioned). The depth of water varies from 6 metres (20 ft) at its deepest in
Nagin lake to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft), the shallowest at Gagribal. The depth ratio
between the maximum and minimum depths varies with the season between
0.29 and 0.25, which is interpreted as flat bed slope. The length of the lake
is 7.44 kilometres (4.62 mi) with a width of 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi).
Flow of raw sewage from settlements and catchments areas account to
156 tons of phosphorous and 244 tons of Nitrogen annually into the lake,
resulting in serious weed infestation and frequent algal blooms (ENEX
Conservation Report,1978). However, weed collected from Dal Lake could be
a valuable raw material for bio-products particularly bio-fertilizers in the
form of compost. Every year, more than 100,000 cubic metres of weed are
removed, both manually and using machines, from the lake and thrown
away as waste. Currently, the cleared weeds are dumped in a landfill where
they rot, and minerals and other matter from the rotting mass leak into the
lake via the underground water system. These weeds can be efficiently
utilized for making compost on large scale which could boost the concept of
organic farming in our state
Our state is made of mountains and most of our agricultural land is
terraced and sloppy. Using chemical fertilizers not only pollutes our water
bodies but also affect our health, ecology and farewell. To overcome such
problem Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
of Kashmir is focusing toward natural means of farming which is also called
“Organic Farming” by using bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, bio-fungicides and
suggest inter-cropping systems of farming. In this connection, SKUAST-
Kashmir has a technology to utilize Dal Lake Weeds for making compost
using efficient microbes for fast decomposition.
The Dal Lake catchment located in Kashmir Himalayas between the
geographical coordinates of 34o02'-34o13' North latitude and 74o50'E to
75oE' longitude is not only highly diverse but also covers a large area of 337
Sq kms, nearly 18-times more than the lake area; surrounded by said basin
in the north and Jhelum basin in the south. The general relief of the lake
catchment is a basin which comprises the Dal Lake at 1,580 m above m.s.l
and a steep escarpment at an elevation of 4,390m located along eastern
watershed.
Fig 1: Location of the study area

A special feature of Dal Lake is the abundance of floating gardens and


demb-lands. Besides, this lake is famous not only for its beauty but also for
its vibrancy as it sustains within its periphery a life that is unique. The lake
supports a floating population of some 7,000 people permanently, besides
being an important floating market garden. It also supports important
fishery and tourist industry. Many spots of tourist attraction have been
developed along its periphery like the famous Mughal gardens of Nishtat,
Shalimar, Cheshm-e--Shahi, Naseem Bagh, Pari-Mahal, Hazratbal and
Shankar Acharya. However, Dal Lake is surrounded by mountains on all the
three sides. To its eastern side by Zabarwan hills, to its southern side by
Shankar-Achariya mountains and to its west by hills of Kohi-Maran. This
type of geographical location of Dal probably indicates a meteor impact that
might have struck the earth’s surface from northern side of lake and have
given rise to the formation of these mountainous ranges. Besides, the bean
like shape of Dal has deformed from its actual basin type due to both
natural and anthropogenic causes.
Problems:

Following are some issues and problems which pollutes Dal lake.

1. Encroachment
2. Algal Blooms
3. Siltation
4. Weed Infestation
5. Human settlement
6. Inflow of sewage
7. Inflow of agro chemicals
8. House boats
9. Prevention and Control of Sewage

Suggestions for Conservation of Dal Lake:

1. Encroachment up on rivers, lakes and streams must be stopped.


2. Number of Efficient Sewage Treatment Plants should be increases.
3. Rehabilitation of Dal dwellers
4. Afforestation on Dal Lake catchment areas
5. Promotion of Organic Forming and Zero Budget natural Farming as an
alternative to in its catchment areas which will definitely reduce the
agro-chemical inflow in to Dal lake.
6. Prevention of erosion in the catchment
7. The administration should restrict them-selves in throwing dirty water
through regulated cannels to the nearly lakes, rivers and wet land
areas but the situation in Srinagar city is opposed to this.
8. House boat owners must be forced to adopt safer and special methods
of sanitation to prevent water from pollution.
9. Prevention and control of pollution by domestic sewage.
10. Apart from human settlement, the residents of the area should clean
their surroundings as the system
Work Carried out by University

S.No Projects Completed Projects Projects Submitted


Sanctioned/Ongoing
1 Utilization of Azola for Conversion of Aquatic Conversion of Dal
Poultry Feed (DST) Weeds into Paper Weed into Compost
(DST) (Submitted to
LAWDA)
2 Use of Dal weed as a Pesticide Analysis of
source of nutrients Dal lake Water to
for cut flowers & Bulb (Submitted to
Production of Lilium, LAWDA)
Gladiolus & hyancith
(P.I. Dr Zahoor A
Bhat, Div. of
Floriculture)
3 Strategies for
Conservation of Dal
Lake through
Organic Farming in
its Catchment Areas

Suggestions for Maintaining Water Quality of the Lake:

 Encroachment up on rivers, lakes and streams must be stopped.


 House boat owners must be forced to adopt safer and special methods
of sanitation to prevent water from pollution and the deweeding of
lakes must be regular affairs.
 The residents of the area should clean their surroundings as the
system is practiced Tanzania
 The town administration should restrict themselves in throwing dirty
water through regulated cannels to the nearly lakes, rivers and wet
land areas but the situation in Srinagar city is opposed to this.