VEMBANAD (VEMBANAD KAYAL or VEMBANAD KOL) is the longest lake in
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is conducted in a portion of the lake.
High levels of pollution have been noticed at certain hotspots of the
Vembanad backwaters. Government of
* 1 Geography and hydrography * 2 Cities * 3 Tourism * 4 Inland transport * 5 Ecological importance * 6 Birds * 7 References * 8 External links
GEOGRAPHY AND HYDROGRAPHY
Vembanad wetland system covers an area of over 2033.02 km²
thereby making it the largest wetland system in India. Of this, an
area of 398.12 km² is located below the MSL and a total of 763.23
km² area is located below 1 m MSL. The lake is bordered by Alappuzha
Kottayam , and
Ernakulam districts. It is situated at the sea level
, and is separated from the
The most popular location on the shores of the lake is the Kumarakom Tourist Village situated on the east coast of the lake. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the northern fringes of Kumarakom village. The Vembanad Wetland system was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands in 2002. It is the largest of the three Ramsar Sites in the state of Kerala. Vembanad lake has been heavily reclaimed over the course of the past century with the water spread area reducing from 290.85 km² in 1917 to 227 km² in 1971 and 213.28 km² in 1990. In the same period almost 63.62 km of erstwhile water spread were reclaimed primarily for formation of polders and to enlarge the extent of the Wellington island of Cochin port. The lake faces a major ecological crisis and has reduced to 37 per cent of its original area, as a result of land reclamation.
A unique characteristic of the lake is the 1,252 metres (4,108
ft)-long Thanneermukkom salt water barrier constructed as a part of
Over 1.6 million people live on the banks of the Vembanad lake and are directly or indirectly dependent on it for their livelihoods.
The port of
House Boat in Vembanadu
Wetland system has formed an intricate network of
estuaries, lagoons and canals which spans over 196 km in the
north-south and 29 km in the east-west directions. Almost all villages
in these areas can be accessed via water transport. The major rivers
of Muvattupuzha, Meenachil, Pamba and Achencovil rivers, are all
navigable up to distances of about 30 km upstream in the tidal reach.
The Kottappuram-Kollam segment of the west coast canal system has a
major chunk passing through the
Vembanad Kol Wetland was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands . It is home to more than 20,000 waterfowls - the third largest such population in India. It is also an ideal habitat for shrimps. Major livelihood activities of the people living on the shores of the lake include agriculture, fishing, tourism, inland navigation, coir retting, lime shell collection. The uncontrolled mining of shells from the lake bed is also posing a threat to the eco-system. The sewage effluents and the heavy load of organic material released from the neighboring areas including a medical college at Alappuzha is let into the water and are responsible for the decrease in dissolved oxygen content in the water in the water body.
Vembanad Wetland is hosting many of migratory birds in the season. In addition to this the fragile ecosystem carries more than 100 birds as native. In comes in the way o Central Asian flyway. Tourism in this area is affecting the ecosystem and hence the life of 16 million people depending it.
* ^ Ayub, Akber (ed), Kerala: Maps ">(PDF). R. Gopakumar and Kaoru Takara, Centre for Water Resources Development and management, Kozhikode. * ^ "Ramsar Sites In Kerala" (PDF). ENVIS Centre, Kerala. * ^ "Kumarakom". * ^ " Vembanad Wetland Conservation Program". Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment. * ^ "Boat driver held for misbehaving with tourist - The Times of India". The Times Of India. * ^ "The List of Wetlands of International Importance" (PDF). The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-01-07. * ^ " Vembanad - Kol Wetland". World Wildlife Fund. 2006-05-24.