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  The Ansupa Lake is situated on the lap of Saranda and Bishnupur hills, Cuttack District, Orissa, India. The Lake is a small water body, which has a horse-shoe shape. The main attraction of the lake is its natural beauty. It is bounded by Saranda hills on the western side and Bishnupur hills on its northern side, part of eastern Ghat region. It is linked directly with river by a channel, Kabula Nalla, which acts as both inlet and outlet, through which flood water enters the lake and excess water also goes out after the flood. The area of the water spread in the lake has reduced from 317 ha in 1973 to 176 ha in 2004 and the depth reduced to 50% by 2008, due to siltation, infestation by weeds, and conversion to agricultural fields. The lake is of national importance due to its unique bio diversity character. This lake has assumed international importance, as it is home to several migratory as well as domiciled birds. According to the inland wetlands of India report, there were 11,860 individuals from 42 bird species. The Ansupa Lake is declared a Community Reserve according to the amendment made in the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) in 2003.

Due to various environmental degradations like siltation, decrease in flow circulation of water, closer of inlet and outlet mechanism of flow of water, highly eutrophic condition, weed infestation, the lake is degrading very fast threatening the eco system. As a result, the fishery and tourism potentials were adversely affected. The Lake is gradually disappearing due to a host of man-made factors. There is heavy siltation and about one lakh metric ton of silt enters the lake during rainy season every year. There is rapid proliferation of freshwater weeds in the lake, which is due to heavy nutrient loading from periphery paddy fields and also due to use of detergents by the people, resulting in high eutrophic condition of the lake water. About 1/3rd of the water spread area is weed infested.

A recent study of 2007, done using Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite has indicated that about 30% of the total 317 ha lake area has been completely occupied for agriculture, while nearly aquatic weeds infest 12%. Heavy exploitation of vegetation from the nearby hills accompanied with siltation, increased growth of water hyacinth, and algae are turning the lake into a swamp. Reclamation of land for fishing and agriculture is going unhindered, making the situation worsened.

Realizing the importance of conserving the lake, the State Govt. has initiated an Integrated Sustainable Environmental Management Programme. The government gave an assistance of Rs 6.41 crores for the lake for this project in 2007. About one lakh cum of silt has been removed by dredging with the available funds from 10th Finance Commission. Some Soil conservation measures like gully control traps, water-harvesting structures have been constructed at the catchment area. About one km. of periphery bunds has been made to arrest eroded soil to come into the lake and arrangement for flushing water.

  Research paper:    

Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History, Deccan Regional Station

(Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India),
Nagarjun Nagar Colony,
Tarnaka,Andhra Pradesh, India
TEL/FAX: 040-27150328 (Off)
RES: 09440992378 (mob)

Contact person: Dr. Chiranjibi Pattanaik

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