ArticlePDF Available

Current Status of Wetlands in Srinagar City: Threats, Management Strategies, and Future Perspectives


Abstract and Figures

Wetlands are the most diverse, highly dynamic, productive, and ecologically sensitive areas in Earth. In Kashmir Himalaya, Srinagar city is bestowed with a large number of picturesque wetlands. These wetlands are important in regulating ecosystem services such as providing fresh water supplies, food products, fisheries, water purification, harbor biodiversity, and regulation of regional climate. These are also important as socioeconomic support systems for the city inhabitants and valued as habitats of migratory birds that visit Kashmir valley from different continents of the world. Owing to the increased rate of anthropogenic activities and anthropogenically driven changes in natural processes, these wetlands are degrading at an alarming rate, seriously affecting their health and water quality. The major threats to wetlands include pollution, land use and land cover changes, urbanization and encroachments, and climate change. The intensive agricultural practices, introduction of exotic species, and changes in hydrological flows during the past few decades have resulted in degradation of wetlands over this region. Sustainable management of wetlands is crucial as these ecosystems offer an array of ecological functions that sustain livelihoods all over the world. This review provides special insights about the significant changes in spatial scale, land use and land cover changes, and water quality of major wetlands in Srinagar city.
Content may be subject to copyright.
published: 22 January 2020
doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00199
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 1January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Edited by:
Michael M. Douglas,
University of Western
Australia, Australia
Reviewed by:
Gulnihal Ozbay,
Delaware State University,
United States
M. Jahangir Alam,
University of Houston, United States
Bradley James Pusey,
Charles Darwin University, Australia
Sami Ullah Bhat
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Freshwater Science,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Environmental Science
Received: 14 May 2019
Accepted: 09 December 2019
Published: 22 January 2020
Dar SA, Bhat SU, Rashid I and Dar SA
(2020) Current Status of Wetlands in
Srinagar City: Threats, Management
Strategies, and Future Perspectives.
Front. Environ. Sci. 7:199.
doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00199
Current Status of Wetlands in
Srinagar City: Threats, Management
Strategies, and Future Perspectives
Shahid Ahmad Dar 1, Sami Ullah Bhat 1
*, Irfan Rashid 2and Sajad Ahmad Dar 3
1Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal
Srinagar, India, 2Geoinformatics Program, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal
Srinagar, India, 3Department of Environmental Science, Uttarakhand Technical University, Dehradun, India
Wetlands are the most diverse, highly dynamic, productive, and ecologically sensitive
areas in Earth. In Kashmir Himalaya, Srinagar city is bestowed with a large number of
picturesque wetlands. These wetlands are important in regulating ecosystem services
such as providing fresh water supplies, food products, fisheries, water purification,
harbor biodiversity, and regulation of regional climate. These are also important as
socio-economic support systems for the city inhabitants and valued as habitats of
migratory birds that visit Kashmir valley from different continents of the world. Owing
to the increased rate of anthropogenic activities and anthropogenically driven changes in
natural processes, these wetlands are degrading at an alarming rate, seriously affecting
their health and water quality. The major threats to wetlands include pollution, land
use and land cover changes, urbanization and encroachments, and climate change.
The intensive agricultural practices, introduction of exotic species, and changes in
hydrological flows during the past few decades have resulted in degradation of wetlands
over this region. Sustainable management of wetlands is crucial as these ecosystems
offer an array of ecological functions that sustain livelihoods all over the world. This review
provides special insights about the significant changes in spatial scale, land use and land
cover changes, and water quality of major wetlands in Srinagar city.
Keywords: wetland ecosystems, land system changes, water quality, management strategies, Srinagar, Kashmir
Wetlands are ecosystems intermediate between aquatic and terrestrial systems, which are
permanently or seasonally covered with shallow water (Mitsch and Gosselink, 1986). They occupy
6% of earth’s land surface (Maltby, 1988). Wetlands are productive (Ghermandi et al., 2008)
and biologically diverse ecosystems (Keddy et al., 2009). They provide numerous socio-economic
and ecosystem services (Prasad et al., 2002; Ramsar Convention Bureau., 2002) including wildlife
habitat, maintenance and conservation of biodiversity (Mitsch and Gosselink, 2007; Whitehouse
et al., 2008), water purification (Brown et al., 2000), fisheries and recreation (Keddy, 2010; Junk
et al., 2013), flood control (Penatti et al., 2015), water supply (Lemly, 1994), nutrient removal (Raich
and Schlesinger, 1992), carbon sequestration (Turner et al., 2000), and environmental restoration
(Fink and Mitsch, 2007; Moreno et al., 2007). Wetlands serve as a means of livelihood for rural
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
FIGURE 1 | Global Wetland Extent Index (Source: Leadley et al., 2014).
populations (Turyahabwe et al., 2013; Lamsal et al., 2015),
particularly in developing nations and are greatly valued by
many cultures (Ghermandi et al., 2010; Maltby and Acreman,
2011). Owing to the high potential of wetlands for agricultural
productivity, fisheries, and water supply, many of the wetlands
of the world have been historically relied upon by human
civilizations. In spite of the ecosystem functions and sustenance
of human livelihoods, 30–90% of the wetlands of the world
are strongly modified or lost (Junk et al., 2013; Reis et al.,
2017) and many remain threatened and degraded due to high
population pressure and urbanization (Central Pollution Control
Board, 2008; Bassi et al., 2014). Davidson (2014) reviewed 189
reports and estimated wetland loses as 64–71% in the twenty-first
century. There was a decline of 69–75% in the extent of inland
wetlands and 62–63% decline in the extent of coastal wetlands.
Wetland losses continue in the twenty-first century. Leadley
et al. (2014) found the Wetland Extent Index and estimated
40% decline in coverage of both inland and coastal/marine
wetland ecosystems during last 40 years due to fragmentation and
degradation (Figure 1).
Presently, the wetland ecosystems are under tremendous
stress due to massive land system changes and infrastructure
development (Pramod et al., 2011), as well as intensification
of agricultural and industrial activities (Bassi et al., 2014),
manifested by the decline in their areal extent resulting in a
decline in the hydrological, economic, and ecological functions
(Bassi et al., 2014). This has led to adoption of various policies
and approaches for conservation, protection, and management of
wetlands [Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), 2006].
Srinagar city in Kashmir Himalaya has a rich natural heritage
of magnificent lakes and picturesque wetlands (Figure 2) lying
along the floodplains of river Jhelum, which are famous
waterfowl habitats (Kaul and Pandit, 1980; Habib, 2014). Besides
being a source of attraction for tourists from all over the world,
these freshwater ecosystems of the Kashmir Himalaya have been
playing a great role in the socio-cultural activity and economy
(Kaul and Pandit, 1980; Pandit, 1982) of the valley since ancient
times. They are a great source of natural products like fish, fodder,
vegetables, tourism, and a variety of economically important
aquatic plants (Pandit and Qadri, 1990; Bano et al., 2018).
However, over the last few decades, the deteriorating water
quality (Verma et al., 2001; Rashid et al., 2017a) and land system
changes (Romshoo and Rashid, 2014; Rashid and Aneaus, 2019)
including encroachment of otherwise notified wetland areas and
depleting stream flows (Mitsch and Gosselink, 2000; Showqi
et al., 2014; Romshoo et al., 2015) have impacted their health
(Iwanoff, 1998; Chauhan, 2010; Naja et al., 2010; Reza and Singh,
Nowadays, wetlands are being recognized as “wastelands”
serving as grounds for a variety of waste materials (Khan et al.,
2004; Bano et al., 2018). The increasing trend of conversion
of agricultural lands into urban areas is currently one of the
dominant patterns of land use change in the valley of Kashmir
(Rashid and Romshoo, 2013; Rashid et al., 2017b). This pattern
of land use change has the potential to alter the composition and
functional processes of wetlands by changing the hydrological
regimes and sedimentation processes besides the flux of nutrient
materials. The ecological consequences of agricultural runoff and
municipal wastewater discharges have resulted into widespread
eutrophication (Khan and Ansar, 2005; Badar et al., 2013a). The
conversion of forested and agricultural areas into built up areas
has impaired the water quality (Rather et al., 2016) that has led to
the extirpation of local populations of aquatic species. As a result,
many freshwater wetlands have altogether vanished or are facing
severe anthropogenic pressures. The harmful social, financial,
and ecological impacts of declining biodiversity and degrading
water quality are a matter of concern (Verma et al., 2001; Bassi
et al., 2014). Most of these wetlands used to act as buffers
soaking flood waters but the encroachment and infrastructure
development within these wetlands has reduced their water
holding capacity, increasing the vulnerability of people toward
flooding (Romshoo et al., 2017). The central business hub of
Srinagar, the capital city, is often affected during a normal
precipitation event as the drainage channels that used to drain
out storm water runoff have mostly been taken over by concrete
surfaces (Rashid and Naseem, 2008). The changes in the spatial
extent of lakes and wetlands in Srinagar are presented in Table 1.
As a result of unplanned urbanization, encroachments, and
population pressures, nearly 91.2 km2of wetland area has been
lost between 1911 and 2004 (Rashid and Naseem, 2008).
Anchar Lake
Anchar is a semiurban, single basin lake situated between 3407-
3410N latitudes and 7446-7448E longitudes at an altitude
of 1,583 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.). The lake is situated
about 14 km from Srinagar city on the northwestern part. The
lake covered an area of 19.54 km2during 1893–1894 (Lawrence,
1895). Since then, the area of the lake declined substantially
to 6.5 km2(Jeelani and Kaur, 2012). The current area of the
lake is 4.26 km2(Sushil et al., 2014; Fazili et al., 2017). The
water supply of Anchar Lake is maintained by Sindh, a tributary
stream of Jhelum and Achan Nallah in addition to springs
along the vicinity of lake. The lake has a vast catchment area
that comprised a mixture of residential, forest, agricultural,
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 2January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
FIGURE 2 | Location of major wetlands in the Srinagar city and its vicinity.
TABLE 1 | Changes in the spatial extent of lakes and wetlands of Srinagar
between 1911 and 2004 (Source: Rashid and Naseem, 2008).
S. No. Class name Area (km2)
1991 2004
1 Open water surface 40.00 30.65
2 Wetland/marshy area 134.25 64.07
3 Built-up land 17.45 107.91
4 Others 505.05 494.13
Total 696.77 696.77
and horticultural land (Jeelani and Kaur, 2012; Bhat et al.,
2013). The last few decades have resulted in the decline of the
water quality of the lake (Farooq et al., 2018;Table 2). The
main causes of degradation of Anchar Lake are anthropogenic
activities, encroachments, sewage, and dumping of domestic
wastes including polythene, clothes, plastic bottles, and effluents
from hospitals and wastewater treatment plants (Najar and Khan,
2012; Bhat et al., 2013; Fazili et al., 2017).
TABLE 2 | Long-term water quality changes in Anchar Lake (Source: Kaul, 1977;
Kaul et al., 1978; Farooq et al., 2018).
Parameter 1970–1972 1975–1976 2018
pH 7.4–9.6 7.5–9.5 7.2–8.3
Dissolved oxygen (mg L1) 6.88–12.32 4.2–10.85 3.5–6.5
Conductivity (µS cm1) 132–385 388–555 200–475
Total alkalinity (mg L1) 53–80 75–130 100–399
Ca (mg L1) 16–30 22–24 48.5–74.5
Mg (mg L1) 10–14 9–13 5.3–9.9
PO4-P (µg L1) 9–25 12–29 182–698
NO3-N (µg L1) 90–57 95–580 558–641
NH4-N (µg L1) 70–85 5–18 231–381
Total P (µg L1) - 92–666 550–910
Cl (mg L1) 8–10 - 23.5–42
Dal Lake
Dal is an urban lake, situated between 345-346N latitude
and 748-749E longitude at an altitude of 1,584 m a.m.s.l. The
lake has been formed due to fluviatile activity of river Jhelum
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 3January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
TABLE 3 | Land system changes within Dal lake from 1859 to 2013 (Source: Rashid et al., 2017a).
Class name Area (km2)
1859 1903 1962 1972 1979 1992 2001 2010 2013
Aquatic vegetation 2.91 1.35 3.85 8.23 9.42 7.75 8.75 10.40 8.64
Builtup 0.05 0.06 0.84 0.68 0.80 1.83 2.10 2.03 2.02
Floating gardens 0.78 0.82 5.66 1.1288 1.39 1.36 2.52 2.70 2.89
Marshy land 1.49 1.44
Plantation 6.02 3.99 3.63 3.16
Water 20.59 23.98 13.84 13.19 12.41 13.10 10.68 8.91 10.50
Total 31.84 31.64 27.82 26.40 24.02 24.04 24.04 24.04 24.04
(Rather, 2012) and is fed by Dagwan stream (Sabha et al., 2019).
The lake is under high stress due to anthropogenic influences
(Badar et al., 2013b; Khanday et al., 2018). During 1200 A.D.,
the extent of Dal Lake was about 75 km2(Wani et al., 2013).
The lake covered an area of 32 km2in 1859 and has shrunk to
24 km2(including the lake interiors) mainly due to the expansion
of settlement areas and proliferation of settlements (Rashid et al.,
2017a). The lake was abundantly supporting sensitive aquatic
macrophytes including Eurayle ferox (Lawrence, 1895; Mukerjee,
1921) and Chara sp. (Mukerjee, 1921), but as the pollution and
eutrophication of the lake continued, the species were pressed
to extinction from the lake (Kak, 2010). While it is believed
that boatmen (locally known as Ha’enz) are the main culprits
responsible for changing land use and land cover of the lake
(Fazal and Amin, 2012), there are policy failures that have led to
the majority of the lake area being highly deteriorated. The land
use patterns and land cover of the lake are presently composed
of open water (10.5 km2), aquatic vegetation (8.64 km2), floating
gardens (2.89 km2), and settlements (2.02 km2) (Rashid et al.,
2017a). The historical changes in the land system of the Dal Lake
are shown in Table 3.
During the last 50 years, the rapid increase in houseboats,
population pressure, encroachment, urbanization, pollution, and
sewage has resulted in the decline of the quality of lake water
(Amin et al., 2014). About 1,200 houseboats (Fazal and Amin,
2012) present in the lake are a major source of untreated sewage
and pollution to the lake (Tanveer et al., 2017). The historical
water quality changes in Dal Lake are reflected in Table 4.
Brari Nambal
Brari Nambal is a marshy lagoon situated between 340512.88′′N
and 744850′′E in Srinagar city. It is connected to the Dal Lake
via a channel on the eastern side. Previously, there was an outlet
channel known as Nallah Mar/Mar canal that used to provide
navigability to Dal Lake to Anchar Lake via Khushalsar (Tantray
and Singh, 2017). In addition, the Mar canal used to take the
excess water from Brari Nambal to Khushalsar Lake. However,
the channel was filled and converted into a motorable road during
the 1970s (Wani et al., 2014), which resulted into the alteration
of the hydrology (Figure 3). Brari Nambal has a narrow outlet
on the western side and drains into river Jhelum through an
underground channel. In 1971, Brari Nambal covered an area
TABLE 4 | Water quality changes in Dal ecosystem (Source: Trisal, 1977; Abubakr
and Kundangar, 2009; Khanday et al., 2018).
Parameter 1974–1976 1985 1996–1997 2006–2007 2018
Dissolved oxygen
(mg L1)
10.25 8.7 8.6 6.8 7.07
Total alkalinity (mg
69.5 85.6 104 115 101.75
Nitrate nitrogen
(µg L1)
481 483 272 539 400
nitrogen (µg L1)
23.6 37.0 362 438 40
Ortho phosphate
phosphorous (µg
65.5 80.5 135 93 40
Total phosphorus
(µg L1)
187.8 211.5 768 615 200
Total dissolved
solids (mg L1)
30.2 32.2 119.8 20
of 1 km2(water body0.28 km2and Marshy area0.72 km2)
which reduced to 0.77 km2by 2002 (water body0.21 km2and
marsh0.56 km2) (Fazal and Amin, 2011).
The population pressure, pollution, encroachments, and
urbanization have led to great stress on the wetland, thereby
deteriorating the water quality to the verge of extinction. Most
of the sewage generated in the vicinity is treated at a sewage
treatment plant constructed on the southern area of the wetland.
The outflows from the sewage treatment plant have become
a major source of pollution and nutrients to the wetland.
The sewage treatment plant has failed in its operation as per
prescribed norms; as a consequence, it discharges partially treated
sewage, thereby turning the wetland into a gutter (Mukhtar et al.,
Gilsar and Khushalsar Lakes
Gilsar and Khushalsar are twin lakes in highly deteriorated
condition located toward the northwest of Srinagar city. The lakes
receive waters from the Nigeen basin of Dal Lake via a water
channel—Nallah Amir Khan (Nissa and Bhat, 2016). The total
area of the lake is 1.06 km2, and the average depth of the lake is
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 4January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
FIGURE 3 | Filling up of Mar Canal as seen from earth observation data (A,B) Declassified CORONA spy images showing Mar canal in 1965. Red Line in (B) indicates
Mar canal. (C) Road built by filling up the Mar Canal. Red dot indicates Brari Nambal.
3.6 m. The lakes have been encroached upon at many places with
illegal construction and landfilling (Chowdhury, 2017). These
lakes receive sewage inputs estimated about 465 million liters per
day (MLD) from the catchment containing 2 metric tons (MT)
of phosphorus and 1.71 MT of nitrogen (Kundangar, 2002) that
has resulted into the proliferated growth of aquatic weeds and
subsequent degradation of water quality.
Hokersar Wetland
Hokersar is the queen of the wetlands of Kashmir valley situated
between 3406N latitude and 7405E longitude having an
altitude of 1,580 m a.m.s.l. in the northern part of Doodhganga
catchment, 10 km west of Srinagar city. The water supply of
Hokersar wetland is maintained by the Doodhganga stream on
the eastern side and by the Sukhnag stream on the western
side. The depth of the wetland varies from a maximum of
2.5 m to a minimum of 0.7 m during spring and autumn,
respectively. Hokersar is a game reserve and habitat for about 2
million species of migratory birds of Europe, Siberia, and Central
Asia. The marshland supports various ecological and economic
services, which include fisheries, food products, freshwater, and
purification of water, and regulates global climate (Davis, 1993;
Romshoo and Rashid, 2014). The wetland supports a broad
range of hydrological functions, for example, regulation of floods,
recharge of groundwater, control stream flow (Joshi et al.,
2002), and carbon sequestration (Romshoo and Rashid, 2014).
In this context, the wetland was designated as a Ramsar site
in November 2005. Due to increased human intervention and
changing natural processes (Joshi et al., 2002), the area of the
wetland has declined from 18.75 km2in 1969 to 13.00 km2in
2008 (Romshoo and Rashid, 2014;Table 5). This wetland has
lost 5.75 km2of area during the last four decades (Romshoo and
Rashid, 2014). During the last two to three decades, macrophytic
species like Acorus calamus,Euryale ferox, and Nelumbo nucifera
within the wetland had disappeared (Khan et al., 2004). The
wetland is now choked by invasive species like Azolla spp.,
Salvinia natans, and Menynanthese spp. (Khan et al., 2004;
Bano et al., 2018). The increased sillt load from the catchment
area due to deforestation of higher reaches is the possible
cause for the disappearance of the species and depletion of
water depth, which has been reported to have reduced from
1.12 m (Pandit, 1980) to 0.63 m (Rather and Pandit, 2002). It
is also pertinent to mention that during the last few decades,
the water quality of the wetland has deteriorated (Shah et al.,
2019) severely (Table 6), mainly attributed to urbanization in the
vicinity (Romshoo et al., 2011).
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 5January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
TABLE 5 | Area covered by different land use land cover types from 1992 to 2008
within Hokersar wetland (Source: Romshoo and Rashid, 2014).
Change from
1992 to 2008
% Change
Agriculture 4.26 3.69 3.23 4.95 0.69 3.69
2.5 3.48 4.56 4.46 1.96 10.73
Built up 0.01 0.05 0.12 0.11 0.1 0.55
Fallow 0.88 0.21 0.27 0.48 0.4 2.22
Marshy 7.74 8.06 7.27 5.62 2.12 11.86
Open water 0.85 0.43 0.31 0.36 0.49 2.72
Plantation 1.82 2.18 2.32 2.16 0.34 1.83
Road 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0 0
TABLE 6 | Range value of various chemical parameters of Hokersar wetland
(Source: Kaul et al., 1978; Kaul and Trisal, 1985; Shah et al., 2019).
Parameter 1978 2012–2013
Oxygen (mg L1) 3.2–12 2.4–10.1
pH 7.2–9.0 7.1–8.2
Alkalinity (mg L1) 85–256 91.3–254.7
Conductivity (µS cm1) 216–348 210–381
Cl (mg L1) 0.0–79.0 10.3–39.3
Dissolved inorganic phosphate phosphorus (µg L1) 19.0–47 -
Total phosphate phosphorus (µg L1) 11.2–306 134–390
NO3-N (µg L1) 104–327 226.3–631.3
NH4-N (µg L1) 3.0–10.0 16.7–242.3
SIO2(mg L1) 3.0–9.0 -
Ca (mg L1) 24–61 44.2–107.2
Mg (mg L1) 11.0–18.0 6.2–28.1
Having only a coverage of 0.6% of the Earth’s surface,
wetlands supply a tremendous proportion of ecosystem services
such as recreational amenities, flood control, storm buffering,
biodiversity, climate regulation, and socio-cultural values. They
are important habitats for biodiversity contributing to primary
productivity and home to many important migratory birds. Thus,
wetlands have a diverse fauna with a relatively large number
of endemic species. Goods and services derived from wetlands
include livestock and cultivation, fisheries, fiber for construction
and handicraft production, fuel wood, hunting for water fowl and
other wildlife, aesthetic value of wetlands, storm buffering, flood
water storage and stream flow regulation, water flow, sediment
and nutrient cycling—water quality improvements, erosion
control, carbon sequestration—climate change and mitigation,
and cultural knowledge and traditions (Eftec, 2005). Wetlands
are believed to have distinctive ecological features, which provide
various goods and services to mankind. They constitute a natural
resource of great economic, scientific, cultural, and recreational
TABLE 7 | Ecological and socio-economic importance of wetlands.
Services Brief description
Air quality
The wetland ecosystems have the ability to maintain air
quality by extracting aerosols and chemical compounds from
the atmosphere.
Climate regulation Wetlands through their biologically mediated processes
stabilize the micro-climate of the region, however at global
scale; they moderate climate vagaries through the land cover
and other processes.
Wetlands regulate hydrological cycle and regulate water
regime through ground water recharge, evapotranspiration,
and by capturing and gradually releasing the water.
abatement and
Wetlands drastically reduce the nutrient input from through
flowing surface and sub-surface run-off. The biotic and
abiotic factors in the wetlands lead to the detoxification of the
pollutants and xenic compounds carried into the ecosystem.
Erosion control Wetland vegetation and biota reduce the erosion of soil
through sediment binding and reducing current velocity.
Natural hazard
Wetlands help to lessen the negative impact of flooding by
soaking up the water and reducing the speed at which flood
water flows.
Wetlands regulate population structure of the ecosystem
through trophic relation.
Food Production of edible plants like Nelumbo nucefera and
animals like fish (Schizothorax sp., Cyprinus sp.).
Fresh water The biotic and abiotic processes taking place in the wetland
ecosystem enhances water quality. Wetlands have vast ability
to meet municipal water supply in the neighboring areas.
Fuel and fiber Wetlands are home to a number of species or abiotic
components with potential use for fuel or raw material.
products and
Wetlands act as huge reservoirs of potentially beneficial
chemical compounds having tremendous medicinal and
cosmetic properties.
Genetic materials Wetlands represent areas of high biological diversity and
support gene pools of the most diverse assemblages of a
wide variety of flora and fauna.
Wetlands provide vital habitat for many species and other
abiotic resources with Ornamental value.
Cultural heritage
and identity
Wetlands symbolize the culturally significant landscapes by
creating the sense of belongingness for certain features and
species it beholds.
Tourism and
Wetlands provide panoramic views of landscapes having
humongous recreational potential for tourism.
Aesthetic The aesthetics provided by the wetlands is based on
greenness, tranquility, and diversity.
value. Wetland characteristics such as biodiversity, abiotic
components, and ecological processes regulate a large number
of functions that are first transformed into a list of services
that can then be measured in appropriate units (biophysical or
otherwise) and later used for economic valuation. Ecosystem
functions represent the potential for benefits that may or may not
be used directly by humans. Usually, the same function is linked
to two or more ecosystem services. Some of the vital functions of
the wetlands are listed in Table 7.
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 6January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
TABLE 8 | Threats perceived by wetlands of Srinagar city.
S. No. Threats Perceived impacts
1. Floating gardens Construction of floating gardens is a major threat to the lakes and wetlands of Srinagar city. This practice has resulted in conversion
of large areas of open water into floating islands. The impact of these floating gardens is very grave, and unless this practice is
stopped, the wetlands would be under a severe threat.
1. Willow plantations The creation of a network of willow plantations and populus trees within the wetlands (Anchar, Brari Nambal, Dal, Hokersar, Gilsar,
and Khushalsar) is a serious threat to wetland ecology. These plantations have obstructed natural flow of drainage, causing
deleterious morphological, hydrological, and ecological changes to wetlands.
2. Houseboats The direct discharge of untreated sewage from some 1,200 houseboats located in Dal lake is a growing threat to the lake
ecosystem. This has resulted into deterioration of water quality, prolific growth of aquatic macrophytes, and pollution of the lake
(Parvez and Bhat, 2014).
3. Mechanical
The mechanical dredgers and de-wedeers used in wetlands of Srinagar City (Dal lake, Brari Nambal) for removal of sediments and
aquatic macrophytes has resulted into loss of species of fish, macro-invertebrates, zooplankton, and other biologically important
organisms from the wetlands (Ali, 2014).
4. Sewage treatment
plants (STPs)
Pollutant loads from point sources (STPs) constructed along the banks of Dal lake and Brari Nambal has become the main source of
pollution for these water bodies.
The STPs have failed to operate as per prescribed norms resulting into increased nutrient loadings mostly nitrogen and phosphorus,
organic matter, metals, pathogen, nutrients, and supplementary water pollutants to the wetlands (Mukhtar et al., 2014).
5. Hospital effluents The effluents discharged from SKIMS into Anchar lake has resulted into increased nutrient concentrations and toxic compounds into
lake ecosystem that are very harmful for lake ecology and sometimes very toxic for fish and other aquatic biodiversity (Bashir et al.,
2017; Gudoo et al., 2017).
6. Red tide The unprecedented occurrence and frequent seasonal recurrence of red tide in lakes and wetlands of Srinagar city constitutes a
new environmental threat to the aesthetics and biological diversity of wetlands. The occurrence of red tide is due to ingress of
untreated sewage from nearby residential areas to lakes and wetlands of Kashmir valley (Khan, 2000).
7. Urban sprawl Unplanned urbanization in the vicinity of wetlands in Srinagar is the biggest threat and an important cause for the reduction of
wetland extent (Kuchay and Bhat, 2014; Romshoo and Rashid, 2014).
8. Hydrological alterations Hydrological changes including alterations in inflows and hydrological makeup by surface water extraction, water diversions, and
stream channelization for a variety of human uses.
9. Climate change in
Recession of glaciers in Himalayas and changes in precipitation have a significant impact on wetlands and their associated species.
Anticipated changes in regional climate could be one of the main drivers besides anthropogenic factors for loss of wetlands in
Kashmir region given the depleting streamflow scenario as observed across Kashmir valley (Rashid et al., 2015; Zaz et al., 2019).
10. Exotic species Introduction of exotic species either deliberately or naturally into lakes and wetlands of Srinagar city has resulted into changes in
wetland ecology, biodiversity, land uses, and water quality. For example, exotic fish species Cyprinus carpio introduced in Dal lake
have eliminated the native Schizothorax sp. from Dal lake.
11. Siltation and erosion Siltation and erosion of sediments from the catchment areas is a major threat to the wetlands of the city. These result in loss in water
spread area of wetlands.
12. Roads Constructions of roads within Dal and Khushalsar have not only fragmented these water bodies into sub-basins but also impacted
the hydrology.
Among the freshwater ecosystems, wetlands are the most widely
used and are heavily exploited for sustainability and livelihood
(Molur et al., 2011). The main threats to wetlands in Srinagar
city are attributed to anthropogenic pressures that include
urbanization (Farooq and Muslim, 2014), land use changes (Fazal
and Amin, 2011), and large-scale encroachments (Wani and
Khairkar, 2011; Kuchay and Bhat, 2014) in the catchment as well
as in the wetlands itself (Rather et al., 2016). Besides, natural
siltation associated with the anthropogenic siltation brought
about by deforestation in the catchment areas has also been an
important factor resulting in the loss of wetlands (Pandit and
Qadri, 1990; Pandit, 1991; Shah et al., 2017; Amin and Romshoo,
2019). Another important driver of the loss of wetlands comes in
the form of problems relating to drainage (Romshoo et al., 2017;
Alam et al., 2018). The huge inflow of sewage from the catchment
areas into the water bodies has resulted in excessive macrophytic
growth (Dar et al., 2014). The main causes of wetland degradation
in Srinagar are summarized in Table 8.
In Srinagar, wetland ecosystems are continuously seen as isolated
systems and hardly figure in any management plans. The
principal responsibility for management of wetland ecosystems
in Srinagar is with the Lakes and Waterways Development
Authority (LAWDA), Srinagar. Although one of the wetlands
in Srinagar—Hokersar—was declared as a Conservation Reserve
by the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act (1978)1
and selected as a Ramsar site under the Ramsar Convention
on wetlands of international importance on 8 November, 2005,
the wetland ecosystems are overlooked in management plans.
A wetland management plan would be imperative for deriving
sustained ecological and socio-economic services from these
important freshwater ecosystems. The wetland management plan
would adhere to various actions for protection, restoration, and
manipulation of wetland ecosystems that provide values and
functioning advocating to their sustainable usage (Walters, 1986).
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 7January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
The various strategies involved in management process should
aim at:
Reducing the impact of current anthropogenic pressures and
natural processes for long-term protection of wetlands.
Prohibiting any kind of anthropogenic interference in wetland
areas particularly where much of the natural functioning of
wetland ecosystems have already been lost.
Regulating inflows using water quality standards set by
organizations for wetlands for their regular functioning while
deriving monetary benefits in a sustainable way.
Creating barrier or green zones for protection of wetland
ecosystems, restraining detrimental human actions in
the demarcated area of wetland ecosystems for restoring
the wetlands.
Addressing and treating point sources and non-point sources
of pollution in the vicinity and catchments that would improve
the trophic status of wetlands in peril.
Setting up of robust treatment plants (STPs) within the
wetlands and their immediate catchments that would improve
wetland health.
Involvement of local people, colleges, and universities for
regular monitoring of the health of wetlands and establish a
civil society–academia–policy interface that will help in the
better understanding of these ecologically sensitive areas for
formulating effective conservation and restoration efforts.
Workshops and other programs with active participation of
school and university children in the vicinity of wetland
ecosystems on a regular basis so that hands-on education
is imparted to the dwellers and inhabitants for protection
of wetlands.
Wetlands are biologically most diverse and economically valuable
ecosystems all over the world. They cover about 6% of the surface
of the earth and provide important ecological and economic
services. Srinagar city in the valley of Kashmir has several lakes
and wetlands. These are important as socio-economic assets
and function as absorption basins for flood waters. They help
in the maintenance of biodiversity, purification, and recharge
of groundwater. The wetlands of Srinagar city are degrading
at an alarming rate mainly due to anthropogenic pressures
and climate change. The major threats to wetlands in the
city include pollution, siltation, encroachments, urbanization,
and establishment of floating gardens. Robust management
strategies must be adopted for conservation and protection of
wetland ecosystems to ensure sustainable socio-economic and
ecological benefits.
Wetlands all over the world function as important ecological
assets and contribute largely to the well-being of the people.
Studies have shown that the monetary value of wetland services
far exceeds those provided by terrestrial ecosystems. Nowadays,
there is a growing trend of utilizing constructed wetlands
for treatment of wastewaters and industrial effluents. Due to
encroachments and land use changes, the area of lakes and
wetlands has drastically reduced during the last few decades.
Therefore, the future of lakes and wetlands seems to be at stake,
which would not only impact socio-economy but also increase
the vulnerability of people to disasters. Despite the regulations
and the presence of wetland management authorities, wetlands
continue to degrade in the Kashmir region. Keeping in view their
ecosystem services, wetlands need to be conserved for future
generations. The wetland management authorities of Srinagar
city need to look into the ecological degradation and the land
conversion going on within and around the wetlands. The areas
that require aggressive management approaches are restricting
the expansion of floating gardens and limiting the growth of
aquatic vegetation. It is these hotspots that are earth-filled and
used for construction of houses. The siltation of wetlands in
Srinagar is another important concern that should be looked into
by the policy-makers so as to restore their original water holding
capacities. This is important for reducing the vulnerability of
population in Srinagar to floods. The effects of mismanagement
of city wetlands will become visible only in a few decades and
the wetland encroachers will bear consequences similar to what
Srinagarites experienced during 2014 mega flood.
ShD, SB, and IR conceived, designed, and drafted this review,
while SaD author helped in screening the relevant literature
besides giving inputs on draft. All authors together at the end gave
final shape to this manuscript.
The authors express gratitude to Ms. Sheikh Aneaus, Junior
Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences (Geoinformatics
Program) for preparing the map showing the wetlands of
Srinagar city. The authors would also like to acknowledge the
comments of three reviewers whose inputs helped in improving
the structure and quality of the manuscript. Thanks are also
due to the Associate Editor, Dr. Micheal M. Douglas, for timely
processing of the manuscript.
Abubakr, A., and Kundangar, M. R. D. (2009). Three decades of Dal L ake pollution
– restoration. J. Ecol. Environ. Conserv. 15, 825–833.
Alam, A., Bhat, M. S., Farooq, H., Ahmad, B., Ahmad, S., and Sheikh,
A. H. (2018). Flood risk assessment of Srinagar city in Jammu and
Kashmir, India. Int. J. Disaster Resilience Built Environ. 9, 114–129.
doi: 10.1108/IJDRBE-02-2017-0012
Ali, U. (2014). Stress of environmental pollution on zooplanktons
and their comparative studies in Dal Lake, Wular lake Anchar
lake and Manasbal Lake, in Srinagar, Kashmir. Int. J. Eng. Sci.
3, 39–44.
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 8January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
Amin, A., Fazal, S., Mujtaba, A., and Singh, S. K. (2014). Effects of land
transformation on water quality of Dal lake, Srinagar, India. J. Indian Soc.
Remote Sens. 42, 119–128. doi: 10.1007/s12524-013-0297-9
Amin, M., and Romshoo, S. A. (2019). Comparative assessment of soil erosion
modelling approaches in a Himalayan watershed. Model. Earth Syst. Environ.
5, 175–192. doi: 10.1007/s40808-018-0526-x
Badar, B., Romshoo, S. A., and Khan, M. A. (2013a). Modelling catchment
hydrological responses in a Himalayan Lake as a function of changing land
use and land cover. J. Earth Syst. Sci. 122, 433–449. doi: 10.1007/s12040-013-
Badar, B., Romshoo, S. A., and Khan, M. A. (2013b). Integrating biophysical
and socioeconomic information for prioritizing watersheds in a Kashmir
Himalayan lake: a remote sensing and GIS approach. Environ. Monit. Assess.
185, 6419–6445. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-3035-9
Bano, H., Lone, F. A., Bhat, J. I. A., Rather, R. A., Malik, S., and Bhat, M. A.
(2018). Hokersar Wet Land of Kashmir: its utility and factors responsible for
its degradation. Plant Arch. 18, 1905–1910.
Bashir, M., Chauhan, R., Mir, M. F., Ashraf, M., Amin, N. A. M., Bashir, S. A., et al.
(2017). Effect of pollution on the fish diversity in Anchar Lake, Kashmir. Int. J.
Fisheries Aquatic Stud. 5, 105–107.
Bassi, N., Kumar, M. D., Sharma, A., and Pardha-Saradhi, P. (2014).
Status of wetlands in India: a review of extent, ecosystem benefits,
threats and management strategies. J. Hydrol. Reg. Stud. 2, 1–19.
doi: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2014.07.001
Bhat, S. A., Meraj, G., Yaseen, S., Bhat, A. R., and Pandit, A. K. (2013). Assessing
the impact of anthropogenic activities on spatio-temporal variation of water
quality in Anchar lake, Kashmir Himalayas. Int. J. Environ. Sci. 3, 1625–1640.
doi: 10.6088/ijes.2013030500032
Brown, D. S., Kreissl, J. F., Gearhart, R. A., Kruzic, A. P., Boyle, W. C.,
Otis, R. J., et al. (2000). Constructed Wetlands Treatment of Municipal
Wastewaters. EPA/625/R-99/010 (NTIS PB2001-101833). Available online
PDF (accessed May 5, 2019).
Central Pollution Control Board, CPCB. (2008). Status of Water Quality in India
2007. New Delhi: Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment
and Forests, Government of India.
Chauhan, S. S. (2010). Mining, development and environment: a case study
of bijolia mining area in Rajasthan, India. J. Hum. Ecol. 31, 65–72.
doi: 10.1080/09709274.2010.11906299
Chowdhury, C. L. (2017). “Greater Srinagar and Dal Lake integrated
environmental project proposal–a review,” in Geomechanics and Water
Engineering in Environmental Management, ed R. N. Chowdhury (London,
UK: Routledge), 233–266. doi: 10.1201/9780203753552-7
Dar, N. A., Pandit, A. K., and Ganai, B. A. (2014). Factors affecting the
distribution patterns of aquatic macrophytes. Limnol. Rev. 14, 75–81.
doi: 10.2478/limre-2014-0008
Davidson, N. C. (2014). How much wetland has the world lost? Long-term
and recent trends in global wetland area. Mar. Freshwater Res. 65, 934–941.
doi: 10.1071/MF14173
Davis, T. J. (1993). Towards the Wise Use of Wetlands. Kuala Lampur: Ramsar
Convention Bureau, 45
Eftec (2005). The Economic, Social and Ecological Value of Ecosystem Services: A
Literature Review. Final report for the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs. Eftec, 42.
Farooq, M., and Muslim, M. (2014). Dynamics and forecasting of population
growth and urban expansion in Srinagar City-A Geospatial Approach.
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Rem. Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci. 40, 709–716.
doi: 10.5194/isprsarchives-XL-8-709-2014
Farooq, R., Chauhan, R., and Mir, M. F. (2018). Deterioration of water quality of
Anchar Lake as indicated by analysis of various water quality parameters. Int. J.
Adv. Res. Sci. Eng. 7, 2551–2558.
Fazal, S., and Amin, A. (2011). Impact of urban land transformation on
water bodies in Srinagar City, India. J. Environ. Protec. 2, 142–153.
doi: 10.4236/jep.2011.22016
Fazal, S., and Amin, A. (2012). Hanjis activities and its impact on Dal Lake and
its environs (a case study of Srinagar City, India). Res. J. Environ. Earth Sci.
4, 511–524.
Fazili, M. F., Bhat, B. A., and Ahangar, F. A. (2017). Avian diversity of Anchar Lake,
Kashmir, India. N. Y. Sci. J. 10, 92–97.
Fink, D. F., and Mitsch, W. J. (2007). Hydrology and nutrient biogeochemistry
in a created river diversion oxbow wetland. Ecol. Eng. 30, 93–102.
doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2006.08.008
Ghermandi, A., van den Bergh, J. C. J. M., Brander, L. M., de Groot, H. L. F.,
and Nunes, P. A. L. D. (2010). Values of natural and human-made wetlands:
a meta-analysis. Water Resour. Res. 46, 1–12. doi: 10.1029/2010WR009071
Ghermandi, A., van den Bergh, J. C. J. M., Brander, L. M., and Nunes, P. A.
L. D. (2008). “The economic value of wetland conservation and creation: a
meta-analysis, in Working Paper 79 (Milan: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei).
doi: 10.2139/ssrn.1273002
Gudoo, M. Y., Gupta, A., and Mir, M. F. (2017). Diversity, distribution and
abundance of macroinvertebrates in Anchar Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, J & K,
India. Int. J. Curr. Res. 9, 52390–52396.
Habib, M. (2014). Bird community structure and factors affecting the avifauna of
Hokersar wetland Kashmir. Int. J. Curr. Res. 6, 7397–7403.
Iwanoff, A. (1998). Environmental impacts of deep opencast limestone
mines in Aegerdorf, Northern Germany. Mine Water Environ. 17, 52–61.
doi: 10.1007/BF02687244
Jeelani, M., and Kaur, H. (2012). Ecological understanding of Anchar Lake,
Kashmir. Int. J. Environ. Rehabil. Conserv. 3, 21–32.
Joshi, P. K., Humayun, R., and Roy, P. S. (2002). Landscape dynamics in Hokersar
wetland-an application of geospatial approach. J. Indian Soc. Remote Sens. 30,
1–5. doi: 10.1007/BF02989971
Junk, W. J., An, S., Finlayson, C. M., Gopal, B., Kvˇ
et, J., Mitchell, S. A., et al.
(2013). Current state of knowledge regarding the world’s wetlands and their
future under global climate change: a synthesis. Aquat. Sci. 75, 151–167.
doi: 10.1007/s00027-012-0278-z
Kak, A. M. (2010). Euryale ferox Salisb. (Juwak) in Kashmir lakes (J&K State),
India. J. Econ. Taxonomic Bot. 34, 1–11.
Kaul, V. (1977). Limnological Survey of Kashmir lakes with reference to trophic
status and conservation. Int. J. Ecol. Environ. Sci. 3, 29–44.
Kaul, V., and Pandit, A. K. (1980). “Management of wetland ecosystems as wildlife
habitats in Kashmir,” in Proceedings of the International Seminar: Management
of Environment, ed B. Patel (Bombay: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre), 31–53.
Kaul, V., and Trisal, C. L. (1985). “Ecology and conservation of the
freshwaterlakes of Kashmir,” in National Symposium Evolution Environment,
eds S. D. Misra, D. N. Sen, and I. Ahmad (Jodhpur: Sp. Vol. Geobios),
Kaul, V., Trisal, C. L., and Handoo, J. K. (1978). “Distribution and production
of macrophytes in some water bodies of Kashmir,” in Glimpses of Ecology,
eds J. S. Singh, and B. Gopal (Jaipur: International Scientific Publications),
Keddy, P. A. (2010). Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation. New York, NY:
Cambridge University Press.
Keddy, P. A., Fraser, L. H., Solomeshch, A. I., Junk, W. J., Campbell, D. R., Arroyo,
M. T. K., et al. (2009). Wet and wonderful: the world’s largest wetlands are
conservation priorities. Bioscience 59, 39–51. doi: 10.1525/bio.2009.59.1.8
Khan, F. A., and Ansar, A. A. (2005). Eutrophication: an ecological vision.
Botanical Rev. 71, 449–482. doi: 10.1663/0006-8101(2005)071[0449:EAEV]2.0.
Khan, M. A. (2000). Anthropogenic eutrophication and red tide outbreak in
lacustrine systems of the Kashmir Himalaya. Acta Hydrochem. Hydrobiol.
28, 95–101. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-401X(20002)28:2<95::AID-AHEH95>3.0.
Khan, M. A., Shah, M. A., Mir, S. S., and Bashir, S. (2004). The
environmental status of a Kashmir Himalayan wetland game reserve:
aquatic plant communities and eco-restoration measures. Lakes
Reserv. Res. Manage. 9, 125–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1770.2004.0
Khanday, S. A., Romshoo, S. A., Jehangir, A., Sahay, A., and Chauhan, P. (2018).
Environmetric and GIS techniques for hydrochemical characterization of the
Dal Lake, Kashmir Himalaya, India. Stochastic Environ. Res. Risk Assess.
32:3151. doi: 10.1007/s00477-018-1581-6
Kuchay, N. A., and Bhat, M. S. (2014). Analysis and simulation of urban expansion
of Srinagar City. Trans. Inst. Indian Geograp. 36, 109–121.
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 9January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
Kundangar, M. R. D. (2002). Pollution status of wetlands of Khushalsar and
Gilsar,Sr inagar, Kashmir. A report submitted to UEE Department, Government
of J&K.
Lamsal, P., Pant, K. P., Kumar, L., and Atreya, K. (2015). Sustainable livelihoods
through conservation of wetland resources: a case of economic benefits from
Ghodaghodi Lake, Western Nepal. Ecol. Soc. 20:10. doi: 10.5751/ES-07172-2
Lawrence, W. R. (1895). The Valley of Kashmir. Kashmir: Chinar Publishing
House, Srinagar.
Leadley, P. W., Krug, C. B., Alkemade, R., Pereira, H. M., Sumaila, U. R.,
Walpole, M., et al. (2014). Progress Towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets: An
Assessment of Biodiversity Trends, Policy Scenarios, and Key Actions. Montreal,
QC: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Lemly, A. D. (1994). Irrigated agriculture and freshwater wetlands: a struggle
for coexistence in the western United States. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 3, 3–15.
doi: 10.1007/BF00177292
Maltby, E. (1988). “Global wetlands - history, current status and future,” in The
Ecology and Management of Wetlands, eds D. D. Hook, W. H. McKee Jr., H. K.
Smith, J. Gregory, V. G. Burrell Jr., M. Richard DeVoe, R. E. Sojka, S. Gilbert,
R. Banks, L. H. Stolzy, C. Brooks, T. D. Matthews, and T. H. Shear (New York,
NY: Springer), 3–14. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4684-8378-9_1
Maltby, E., and Acreman, M. C. (2011). Ecosystem services of wetlands:
pathfinder for a new paradigm. Hydrol. Sci. J. 56, 1341–1359.
doi: 10.1080/02626667.2011.631014
Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) (2006). National Environmental
Policy. New Delhi: MoEF, Government of India. Available online at: http:// (accessed May 5,
Mitsch, W. I., and Gosselink, I. G. (1986). Wetlands. New York, NY: Van
Nostrand Reinhold.
Mitsch, W. J., and Gosselink, J. G. (2000). The value of wetlands:
importance of scale and landscape setting. Ecol. Econ. 35, 25–33.
doi: 10.1016/S0921-8009(00)00165-8
Mitsch, W. J., and Gosselink, J. G. (2007). Wetlands, 4th Edn. New York, NY: John
Wiley & Sons Inc.
Molur, S., Smith, K. G., Daniel, B. A., and Darwall, W. R. T. (2011).
The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in the Western
Ghats, India. Cambridge; Gland: International Union for Conservation of
Nature. Available online at:
documents/RL-540- 001.pdf (accessed May 5, 2019).
Moreno, D., Pedrocchi, C., Comin, F. A., Garcia, M., and Cabezas, A. (2007).
Creating wetlands for the improvement of water quality and landscape
restoration in semi-arid zones degraded by intensive agricultural use. Ecol. Eng.
30, 103–111. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2006.07.001
Mukerjee, S. K. (1921). “The Dal Lake (Kashmir): a study in biotic succession,” in
Proceedings of the 8th Indian Science Congress Abstracts (Kolkata), 185.
Mukhtar, F., Bhat, M. A., Bashir, R., and Chisti, H. (2014). Assessment of surface
water quality by evaluating the physico-chemical parameters and by checking
the water quality index of Nigeen Basin and Brari Nambal Lagoon of Dal Lake,
Kashmir. J. Mater. Environ. Sci. 5, 1178–1187.
Naja, G. M., River, O. R., Davis, S. E., and Lent, T. V. (2010). Hydrochemical
impacts of limestone rock mining. Water Air Soil Pollut. 217, 95–104.
doi: 10.1007/s11270-010-0570-2
Najar, I. A., and Khan, A. B. (2012). Assessment of water quality and identification
of pollution sources of three lakes in Kashmir,India, using multivariate analysis.
Environ. Earth Sci. 66, 2367–2378. doi: 10.1007/s12665-011-1458-1
Nissa, M., and Bhat, S. U. (2016). An assessment of phytoplankton in Nigeen Lake
of Kashmir Himalaya. Asian J. Biol. Sci. 9, 27–40. doi: 10.3923/ajbs.2016.27.40
Pandit, A. K. (1980). Biotic factor and food chain structure in some typical wetlands
of Kashmir (Ph.D. thesis). University of Kashmir, Srinagar, J&K, India.
Pandit, A. K. (1982). Looking out for the wildlife in Jammu and Kashmir Himalaya.
Environ. Aware. 5, 53–62.
Pandit, A. K. (1991). Conservation of wildlife resources in wetland
ecosystems of Kashmir, India. J. Environ. Manage. 33, 143–154.
doi: 10.1016/S0301-4797(05)80090-8
Pandit, A. K., and Qadri, S. S. (1990). Floods threatening Kashmir wetlands. J.
Environ. Manage. 31, 299–311. doi: 10.1016/S0301-4797(05)80059-3
Parvez, S., and Bhat, S. U. (2014). Searching for water quality improvement in Dal
lake, Srinagar, Kashmir. J. Himalayan Ecol. Sust. Dev. 9, 51–64.
Penatti, N. C., de Almeida, T. I. R., Ferreira, L. G., Arantes, A. E., and Coe, M. T.
(2015). Satellite-based hydrological dynamics of the world’s largest continuous
wetland. Remote Sens. Environ. 170, 1–13. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2015.08.031
Pramod, A., Kumara, V., and Gowda, R. (2011). A Study on physicochemical
characteristics of water in Wetlands of hebbe range in Bhadra Wildlife
Sanctuary, Mid-Western ghat Region, India. J. Exp. Sci. 2, 9–15.
Prasad, S. N., Ramachandra, T. V., Ahalya, N., Sengupta, T., Kumar, A., Tiwari,
A. K., et al. (2002). Conservation of wetlands of India – a review. Trop. Ecol.
43, 173–186.
Raich, J. W., and Schlesinger, W. H. (1992). The global carbon-dioxide flux in soil
respiration and its relationship to vegetation and climate. Tellus B 44, 81–99.
doi: 10.3402/tellusb.v44i2.15428
Ramsar Convention Bureau. (2002). “Ramsar COP8 DOC. 15: Cultural aspects
of wetland,”in 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971),Valencia, Spain (Gland: The
Ramsar Convention Bureau).
Rashid, H., and Naseem, G. (2008). “Quantification of loss in spatial extent
of lakes and wetlands in the suburbs of Srinagar city during last century
using geospatial approach,” in Proceedings of Taal_2007: The 12th World Lake
Conference (Jaipur), 653–658.
Rashid, I., and Aneaus, S. (2019). High resolution earth observation data for
assessing the impact of land system changes on wetland health in Kashmir
Himalaya, India. Arabian J. Geosci. 12:453. doi: 10.1007/s12517-019-4649-9
Rashid, I., Bhat, M. A., and Romshoo, S. A. (2017b). Assessing changes in the above
ground biomass and carbon stocks of Lidder valley, Kashmir Himalaya, India.
Geocarto Int. 32, 717–734. doi: 10.1080/10106049.2016.1188164
Rashid, I., and Romshoo, S. A. (2013). Impact of anthropogenic activities on water
quality of Lidder River in Kashmir Himalayas. Environ. Monit. Assess. 185,
4705–4719. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-2898-0
Rashid, I., Romshoo, S. A., Amin, M., Khanday, S. A., and Chauhan,
P. (2017a). Linking human-biophysical interactions with the trophic
status of Dal Lake, Kashmir Himalaya, India. Limnologica 62, 84–96.
doi: 10.1016/j.limno.2016.11.008
Rashid, I., Romshoo, S. A., Chaturvedi, R. K., Ravindranath, N. H., Sukumar,
R., Jayaraman, M., et al. (2015). Projected climate change impacts on
vegetation distribution over Kashmir Himalayas. Clim. Change 132, 601–613.
doi: 10.1007/s10584-015-1456-5
Rather, J. A. (2012). Evaluation of concordance between environment and
economy: a resource inventory of Dal Lake. Int. J. Phys. Soc. Sci. 2:10.
Rather, M. I., Rashid, I., Shahi, N., Murtaza, K. O., Hassan, K., Yousuf,
A., et al. (2016). Massive land system changes impact water quality of
the Jhelum river in Kashmir Himalaya. Environ. Monit. Assess. 188:185.
doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5190-x
Rather, S. A., and Pandit, A. K. (2002). Phytoplankton dynamics in Hokersar
wetland, Kashmir. J. Res. Dev. 2, 25–46.
Reis, V., Hermoso, V., Hamilton, S. K., Ward, D., Fluet-Chouinard, E., Lehner,
B., et al. (2017). A Global assessment of inland wetland conservation status
Bioscience 67, 523–533. doi: 10.1093/biosci/bix045
Reza, R., and Singh, G. (2010). Impact of industrial development on surface water
resources in Angul region of Orissa. Int. J. Environ. Sci. 1, 514–522.
Romshoo, S. A., Ali, N., and Rashid, I. (2011). Geoinformatics for characterizing
and understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics (1969 to 2008) of Hokersar
wetland in Kashmir Himalayas. Int. J. Phys. Sci. 6, 1026–1038.
Romshoo, S. A., Altaf, S., Rashid, I., and Dar, R. A. (2017). Climatic,
geomorphic and anthropogenic drivers of the 2014 extreme flooding in the
Jhelum basin of Kashmir, India. Geomatics Natl. Hazards Risk 9, 224–248.
doi: 10.1080/19475705.2017.1417332
Romshoo, S. A., Dar, R. A., Rashid, I., Marazi, A., Ali, N., and Zaz,
S. N. (2015). Implications of shrinking cryosphere under changing
climate on the streamflows in the Lidder catchment in the Upper
Indus Basin, India. Arct. Antarct. Alp. Res. 47, 627–644. doi: 10.1657/
Romshoo, S. A., and Rashid, I. (2014). Assessing the impacts of changing land cover
and climate on Hokersar wetland in Indian Himalayas. Arabian J. Geosci. 7,
143–160. doi: 10.1007/s12517-012-0761-9
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 10 January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Dar et al. Wetland Dynamics in Srinagar Kashmir
Sabha, I., Bhat, S. U., Hamid, A., and Rather, J. A. (2019). Monitoring stream
water quality of Dagwan stream, an important tributary of Dal Lake, Kashmir
Himalaya. Arabian J. Geosci. 12:273. doi: 10.1007/s12517-019-4439-4
Shah, J. A., Pandit A. K., and Shah G. M. (2019). Physico-chemical limnology of
a shallow lake in the floodplains of western Himalaya from last four decades:
present status. Environ. Sys. Res. 8, 1–10. doi: 10.1186/s40068-019-0136-2
Shah, J. A., Pandit, A. K., and Shah, G. M. (2017). Dynamics of physico-chemical
limnology of a shallow wetland in Kashmir Himalaya (India). Sustain. Water
Resour. Manage. 3, 465–477. doi: 10.1007/s40899-017-0115-6
Showqi, I., Rashid, I., and Romshoo, S. A. (2014). Land use land cover dynamics
as a function of changing demography and hydrology. GeoJournal 79, 297–307.
doi: 10.1007/s10708-013-9494-x
Sushil, M., Reshi, J. M., and Krishna, M. (2014). To evaluate the water quality status
and responsible factors for variation in Anchar Lake Kashmir. IOSR J. Environ.
Sci. Toxicol. Food Technol. 8, 55–62. doi: 10.9790/2402-08245562
Tantray, M. A., and Singh, S. (2017). Socio economic validity of Lakes in Jammu
and Kashmir. Int. J. Sci. Res. Educ. 5, 6606–6617.
Tanveer, Q., Kapoor, K., and Kundangar, M. R. D. (2017). Impact of houseboat
sanitation on ecology and health of Dal Lake Kashmir. Int. J. Technol. Res. Eng.
5, 2796–2799.
Trisal, C. L. (1977). Studies on primary production in some Kashmir Lakes (Ph.D.
thesis). University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India.
Turner, R. K., van der Bergh, J. C. J. M., Soderqvist, T., Barendregt,
A., van der Straaten, J., Maltby, E., et al. (2000). Ecological-
economic analysis of wetlands: scientific integration for management
and policy. Ecol. Econ. 35, 7–23. doi: 10.1016/S0921-8009(00)
Turyahabwe, N., Kakuru, W., Tweheyo, M., and Tumusiime, D. M. (2013).
Contribution of wetland resources to household food security in Uganda. Agric.
Food Secur. 2:5. doi: 10.1186/2048-7010-2-5
Verma, M., Bakshi, N., and Nair, R. (2001). Economic Valuation of Bhoj Wetlands
for Sustainable Use. [EERC Working Paper Series: WB-9]. Bhopal: Indian
Institute of Forest Management. Available online at:
content/uploads/bhojwetlands2001.pdf (accessed May 5, 2019).
Walters, C. J. (1986). Adaptive Management of Renewable Resources. New York,
NY: Macmillan.
Wani, M. A., Dutta, A., Wani, M. A., and Wani, U. J. (2014). Towards
conservation of world famous Dal Lake-a need of hour. Int. Res. J. Eng. Technol.
1, 24–30.
Wani, M. H., Baba, S. H., Yousuf, S., Mir, S. A., and Shaheen, F. A.
(2013). “Economic valuation and sustainability of Dal Lake ecosystem in
Jammu and Kashmir,” in Knowledge Systems of Societies for Adaptation and
Mitigation of Impacts of Climate Change, eds S. Nautiyal, K. S. Rao, H.
Kaechele, K. V. Raju, and R. Schaldach (Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer), 95–118.
doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-36143-2_7
Wani, R. A., and Khairkar, V. P. (2011). Quantifying land use and land cover
change using geographic information system: a case study of Srinagar city,
Jammu and Kashmir, India. Int. J. Geomatics Geosci. 2, 110–120.
Whitehouse, N. J., Langdon, P. G., Bustin, R., and Galsworthy, S. (2008).
Fossil insects and ecosystem dynamics in wetlands: implications
for biodiversity and conservation. Biodiver. Conserv. 17, 2055–2078.
doi: 10.1007/s10531-008-9411-7
Zaz, S. N., Romshoo, S. A., Krishnamoorthy, R. T., and Viswanadhapalli, Y. (2019).
Analyses of temperature and precipitation in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir
region for the 1980–2016 period: implications for remote influence and extreme
events. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 19, 15–37. doi: 10.5194/acp-19-15-2019
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the
absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a
potential conflict of interest.
Copyright © 2020 Dar, Bhat, Rashid and Dar. This is an open-access article
distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the
original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original
publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.
No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these
Frontiers in Environmental Science | 11 January 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 199
Full-text available
Ansupa, the largest freshwater lake in Odisha state, a Ramsar Site has immense significance for biodiversity and provisioning services. In light of its wide range of social and economic benefits and many effects on human well-being, the present study attempts to determine local stakeholders’ dependency, resource use, knowledge, and perception of wetland conservation. We conducted 120 household surveys in villages adjacent to Ansupa Lake. We used a questionnaire with both open-ended and closed-ended questions to obtain information on the socioeconomic profile of the villagers, their dependencies, and their perceptions of lake conservation. We used a Likert scale to measure respondents’ perceptions and ordinal regression to analyse the datasets. The survey found that people living on the lake’s fringes depend directly or indirectly on it, regardless of their economic status. Nearly 40% of the respondents relied entirely on the lake for their livelihood. Irrigation, pisciculture, non-timber forest products, and fodder are economic benefits derived from the lake. In this context, the findings of the study highlight a substantial link between dependency, benefits, and education, influencing residents’ perceptions of the lake. Further, our study could be helpful to society in terms of Ansupa lake conservation and management planning, as well as the government in involving locals in lake conservation initiatives and decision-making processes.
Full-text available
Manasbal Lake is one of the hotspots of Kashmir tourism. Due to the negligence of concerned authorities and the greediness of humans residing proximate, the ecosystem of the lake is highly disturbed and compromised. The current study emphasizes and attempts to analyze the various significant physico-chemical parameters of the lake. For studying overall pollution load on water of the lake, water samples were collected from five different sites of lake. These samples were collected on monthly basis for seven consecutive months by following the methods given in. Fourteen important physico-chemical parameters were analyzed and results were recorded. The study was made to spectacle the involvement of humans in the degradation of natural resources and the impact of pollution on the population residing in the nearby areas. The population of catchment area is directly or indirectly dependent on this lake for livelihood. So, it is necessary to conserve this natural resource for the present and future generations to survive and fulfill their daily needs. Some of the studied parameters revealed that the sites where human settlements are existing are contaminated showing worse water quality. Almost 80% of the lake seems covered under the substantial amount of weeds, because of the presence of a high concentration of nutrients and other favorable elements and heavy eutrophication. Some toxic elements in excess quantity were found in the water of the lake, which makes it unsuitable for domestic uses. Sewage outlets, agricultural drainage, waste disposal, shrinking up of land, and practice of stone quarrying and functioning of limestone kilns in catchments are recognized as the main sources of pollution in the Manasbal lake. The present study impulses the requirement of curative procedures for purification and protection of this lake.
Full-text available
Qatar, a peninsular country in the Persian Gulf, is significant to avian species due to its location along the African–Eurasian Flyway, a key migratory path. Receiving untreated domestic and industrial liquid waste from Qatar in the past, Al Karaana Lagoons have since been reconstructed as an artificial wetland to address the growing environmental concern posed by contamination build-up. This study documents the changes in biodiversity at Al Karaana Lagoons following their environmental remediation. Data collected (2015 and 2017) by Ashghal (Public Works Authority) prior to project implementation was analyzed alongside data collected independently following project completion (2019–2021). There was a marked increase in bird biodiversity following remediation, including substantial use by migratory species and resident breeders. Further analysis of water quality data of the TSE (treated sewage effluent) ponds shows that they are eutrophic but still support substantial bird life. The project’s success demonstrates how reclaimed lands can provide important habitats to local and migratory birds and encourages similar restoration efforts in the future in both Qatar and elsewhere. We call for the continued monitoring of the site and the implementation of guidelines for the use of the site that balance human activities and habitat quality.
Full-text available
Coliform pollution for the last three decades in major river systems of the world has resulted in far ranging impacts on water quality. In this context, the present study aimed to assess the levels of indicator bacteria like total Coliform (TC), fecal Coliform (FC) and fecal Streptococcus (FS) in major watersheds of Kashmir valley. Sampling was carried out for a period of 2 years (summer 2017 to spring 2019) along several upstream, midstream and downstream reaches of Jhelum River Basin (JRB), while analysis was carried out by multiple tube fermentation technique involving Most Probable Number (MPN). Major highlights of the results revealed high levels of TC, FC and FS among downstream sites with pronounced seasonal variations between summer and winter. TC was highest at all the reaches and during all the seasons followed by FC and FS. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed more variation in Coliform count among reaches as compared to seasons. Mantle test revealed that environmental factors like observable environmental pressure (OEP) (r: 0.235, p < 0.0001), DO (r: 0.2815, p < 0.0001) and temperature (r: 0.04419, p = 0.0104) had prominent effect on Coliform distribution as compared to geographical factors. The study thus highlights the prevalence of Coliform bacteria along JRB resulting from fecal sources. Due to growing urbanization and lack of adequate sewage treatment facilities, there is an increase in the levels of Coliform bacteria along downstream reaches especially those residing within lower Jhelum and Dara watershed, which could jeopardize water quality and public health.
Full-text available
Assessing the impact of land use land cover (LULC) changes on runoff is crucial for the sustainable management of wetland catchments. This study modelled the impacts of LULC changes on runoff in three urban wetland catchments using the United States Environment Protection Agency’s Stormwater Management Model (SWMM). Land cover maps of 1980 and 2017 delineated from satellite data were reclassified using the geographic information system (GIS) to derive impervious surfaces of three catchments in Srinagar city. The findings revealed a drastic reduction of the pervious area from 2249.6 ha to 1883 ha and a corresponding increase in the impervious surfaces from 321 ha to 704.8 ha including all three catchments. Runoff simulations revealed that from 1980–2017, runoff volume increased by 154%, 76.3%, and 159.5% in the Anchar, Brari Nambal, and Khushalsar catchments, respectively. The results indicate that increased runoff and peak volumes are driven by the land-use change, particularly the increase of urban spaces in wetland areas. For mitigating the negative impacts of runoff, rain gardens, a best management practice (BMP) with low impact development (LID) properties were distributed in the catchments based on the availability of open space, cost, and effectiveness. Simulations indicate that the rain gardens would reduce runoff volume by 46.8%, 10.8%, and 48.6% at 50% of runoff treated, and by 89.4%, 13.4%, and 86.8% at 100% of runoff treated, in the Anchar, Brari Nambal, and Khushalsar catchments, respectively. The results of this study could support environmentally-friendly land use planning for the protection and management of wetland catchments.
Full-text available
This study reports the significance of freshwater springs primarily in meeting drinking water demands besides offering various ecosystem services. We analyzed a total of eighteen geochemical quality parameters using standard methods from various representative springs of Anantnag district, Kashmir Himalaya. Groundwater quality profiles were generated in a GIS environment for each parameter. Additionally, statistical methods were employed to understand the interdependence of water quality parameters. Highly variable dissolved oxygen (0.4–9.2 mg L ⁻¹ ) and relatively higher values of nitrate ranging from 57 to 2668 µg L ⁻¹ noticed during the study may be mostly related to contamination from agricultural waste. The findings of this study revealed that the springs are predominantly hard water type as the water samples found were calcium-rich and exhibited higher total phosphorus in few samples owing to limestone lithology in the catchment. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to the data generated chiefly three components (VF1, VF2, and VF3) having Eigen values of 2.0 or more (2.28–5.37) contributing for 31.63%, 17.99% and 13.44% of the total variance, respectively. The water quality index (WQI) of the samples for drinking purpose ranged from good to excellent. In light of our findings, it is argued that springs offer a potential, although partial, solution to the drinking water demands of a burgeoning population in Indian Himalayan region. However, equally important is to have a thorough investigation of springs to explore the impacts of other forms of pollution, including heavy metals, pesticides and antibiotic wastes, which can diminish much-needed ecosystem services.
Full-text available
Wetlands are the most productive and dynamic ecosystems, which have continuously been influenced by social and economic development. As a result, the pollution of wetland surface water and groundwater in adjacent regions has become an emerging global issue that requires constant monitoring and assessment. The current study investigates the natural and anthropogenic processes that influence surface and groundwater chemistry in and around Saman wetland (a Ramsar site) in the Ganges River Basin, India. Various physicochemical parameters are analyzed, and different hydrochemical indices are utilized to evaluate surface and groundwater quality for domestic and irrigation purposes. It is observed that the waters are alkaline in nature and dominated by moderately hard to hard types. An increase in the concentration of nitrate (NO3⁻) in Saman wetland water is noted, which is possibly due to the leaching of nitrogen ions primarily from fertilizers, pesticides, animal and human waste, and wastewater drained from brick and other factories. The elevated fluoride (F⁻) content in studied groundwater samples is mainly governed by geogenic processes. Furthermore, surface and groundwater chemistry are mainly controlled by weathering reaction (rock-water interaction), excluding a few wetland surface water samples that are placed outside the boomerang-shaped boundaries of Gibb’s diagram, which suggests evaporated dominance. Water Quality Index (WQI) estimation suggests that around 57% of groundwater samples have poor groundwater quality for drinking purposes. Estimation of irrigation water quality indices suggests that surface water of Saman wetland is permissible for irrigation purposes; however, none of the samples have excellent and good class as per sodium (alkali) hazard. Furthermore, health risk assessment showed that NO3⁻ and F⁻ levels in the groundwater pose noncarcinogenic health effects, preferably to children, and thus is unfit for drinking purposes. For long-term water resource management and conservation of the Saman wetland, this study suggests proper awareness, appropriate remedial measures, and regular monitoring of the surface as well as groundwater quality monitoring in the study region.
Full-text available
Downstream water pollution resulting from anthropogenic pressures on upstream water can cause conflicts, especially in transboundary rivers basins. This study assessed trace metals cadmium, lead, copper, and iron total concentrations, fluxes, and the potential human health risks through ingestion or dermal contact of waters at the mouth of three West African transboundary rivers: the Comoé, Bia, and Tanoé rivers. The results showed highest total concentrations during the months of May and October and statistically comparable concentrations in the rivers. The fluxes discharged to the Atlantic Ocean through the Aby and Ebrie Lagoons are as high as average values found elsewhere in the World. Trace metals lead, copper, and iron fluxes were highest during the month of October in the Bia, Tanoé, and Comoé rivers. The cadmium flux was highest during the month of October in the Bia and Comoé rivers, and during the months of February and December in the Tanoé River, indicating that contamination came mainly from upstream waters and the draining of the river basins. The Pearson correlation analysis showed that the trace metals were mainly from anthropogenic sources including gold mining and agriculture. The total concentrations were lower than international guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the potential human health risk assessment results suggest a significant likelihood of community exposure to harmful effects but not to cancers through water ingestion. This work recommends including small rivers when assessing global river metal fluxes to the ocean and also reducing upstream inputs from human activities to mitigate downstream river water pollution.
Full-text available
Although wetlands provide a variety of goods and services to people and ecosystems, they are the most threatened ecosystem in the world because they are easily degraded. Thus, efforts to protect the remaining wetlands are critical if this resource is to continue providing environmental, cultural, and economic goods and services. Central to the conservation and management of wetlands is understanding the attitudes of the people bordering wetlands. This study aimed to analyse wetland resource use and conservation attitudes of urban vs. rural dwellers of Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Interview-administered questionnaires and observation were the methods used for data collection. Systematic random sampling was used to obtain a sample of 282 in urban and 312 households in rural areas. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages) were used to summarize the data. Chi-square (χ2) tests were applied using Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, WA, USA) in order to determine whether responses occurred with equal probability. Differences were considered to be significant at p ≤ 0.05. The study found that wetlands are more important in the lives and livelihoods of people in rural areas (92.9%) compared with urban areas (26.6%) of Thohoyandou. Human land use activities in wetlands (especially cultivation and infrastructural development) have degraded and destroyed wetlands—particularly those located in urban areas. The attitudes of respondents were generally positive both in urban and rural areas regarding the need for conservation and rehabilitation/restoration of wetlands. The study concluded that positive attitudes alone are insufficient to save and protect the wetlands. The responsible authorities should implement existing legislation to complement the positive attitudes of people and, importantly, they should work with communities towards the conservation of wetlands.
A better understanding of the organic matter (OM) dynamics is a key to successful wetland management. We carried out the radiocarbon chronology (14C) and vertical distribution of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), OM, and carbon to nitrogen ratio (C/N) in the sediment core retrieved from Anchar wetland, Kashmir Himalaya. The Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) assisted 14C dating of the sediment core showed 14C age reversals related to occasional disturbances. The vertical distribution of various fractions revealed increased concentrations of organic carbon (OC), OM, and nutrients (N and P) in the upper part of the sediment core, largely related to increased anthropogenic inputs from the catchment areas during the recent decades. Further, the low to high C/N ratio (1.3 to 36.4) suggests a combination of both the autochthonous and allochthonous inputs as the major contributors of OM to the wetland ecosystem. The linear regression model showed significant (p < 0.05) positive and negative relationships among various analyzed parameters. Principal component analysis (PCA) resulted in three principal components (PCs) accounting for a cumulative variance of 83.6%. The PCA suggests that the primary production, human activities (Nadru extraction and fishing), and terrestrial inputs (sewage disposal and fertilizer runoff) are the major factors controlling the distribution of organic fractions and nutrients. This study provides important insights into the sources and distribution of sedimentary OM and nutrients crucial for assessing the risks of pollution and for adopting the socially, politically, and scientifically robust strategies for the management of wetlands.
Full-text available
The assessment of water quality of the Dagwan stream encompassing spatiotemporal variations in physicochemical parameters and all important and relevant hydrological attributes was carried out at five different sites for a period of 1 year (June 2014–May 2015). Statistical techniques like analysis of variance (ANOVA), cluster analysis, and regression analysis applied to datasets revealed spatiotemporal variations. ANOVA and Tukey’s box plot was applied and resulting F values showed the significance of observed variation of each parameter at 5% level of significance in which some parameters do not change significantly. The higher positive and negative relationship among various analyzed water quality parameters were described by general linear regression model (P < 0.0001). The study of physicochemical parameters signify that the quality of its water substantially declines while moving downstream. The water quality sites were classified into significant clusters (clusters I and II) by cluster analysis. Cluster I (sites I and II) is illustrated by similar and better water quality whereas cluster II (sites II, IV, and V) is considered to be of moderately reduced water quality, thereby reflecting the different physicochemical characteristics and quality class. The results from water quality index (WQI) validate that water of the Dagwan stream falls within the excellent to very good category of water quality class. While comparing the results with WHO standards, the water quality was in permissible limits. The escalating level of pollution from upstream to downstream sites indicated slight anthropogenic stress in the downstream areas of the Dagwan stream.
Full-text available
Background From the last few decades several lakes and wetlands showed water quality degradation that is one of the major problems globally resulting in serious environmental impacts and concern in both aquatic and terrestrial environs. Methods During this study we evaluated a number of water parameters [water temperature, depth, transparency, hydrogen ion concentration (pH), dissolved oxygen, chloride, calcium, magnesium, total alkalinity, nitrogen and phosphorus] on the monthly basis in September 2012–August 2013 in Hokersar wetland. Results From the year 1978 till 2012–13, the number of parameters showed an increasing trend except for pH and dissolved oxygen. Remarkable temporal variations were recorded in various parameters during the past and present study (e.g. dissolved oxygen showed a decrease of about 2.4 mg/L and pH 0.8 units. Calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, ammonical nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen depicted many fold increase in the last four decades). Among the recorded parameters significant positive correlations were observed between depth and chloride (r = 0.408, p < 0.01); pH and water temperature (r = 0.888, p < 0.05); dissolved oxygen with total alkalinity (r = 0.790, p < 0.05). However, negative correlation were maintained by water temperature with dissolved oxygen (r = 0.894, p < 0.05), free carbon dioxide (r = 0.732, p < 0.05) and calcium content (r = 0.868, p < 0.05). Conclusion The study reflects that the wetland is under tremendous anthropogenic pressures from the immediate catchment. Further, from the study it is evident that total phosphorus raveled decreased levels as compared to previous years reflecting that the wetland still has spongy capacity for the major nutrient.
Full-text available
The Valley of Kashmir harbours a chain of wetlands occupying an area more than 7,000 hectares. Wetlands are very effective systems which help in cycling of nutrients, act as supporters of food chains, maintenance of water quality, and it’s cycling. Wetlands are recognized by their shallowness, moist soil and aquatic vegetation. Their important services include cleaning of water, recharge of ground water, biodiversity reserves for threatened and endangered species and cycling of nutrients. Hokersar wetland (34°06' N latitude, 74°05' E longitude) lying in the Northern most part of Doodhganga catchment is a protected wildlife reserve and a Ramsar site at an altitude of 1,584 m (amsl). The wetland shelters about two million migratory water fowl during winter that migrate from Siberia and the Central Asian region. The wetland is fed by two inlet streams Doodhganga (from east) and Sukhnag Nalla (from west). Hokersar wet land had traditionally been used for various livelihood purposes for centuries. People living around the periphery of wetland grow paddy crop, vegetables, rare poultry, cattle, fish and also carry out other activities like wood collection, mulch and reed collection. Wetlands of Kashmir provide overwintering resort to millions of water birds. It has decreased in size and exhausted due to the anthropogenic activities and encroachments. The wetland is bordered by urban habitations on the northern side along the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. All kinds of waste generated by the people are dumped into the Wetland. The encroachments result in the change of mud flats and grasslands into the agricultural lands thus dividing the habitat in to small portions which affects the population of birds in the wetland. Further, throwing of domestic waste into the wetland has resulted in eutrophication and finally in excessive weed growth.
Full-text available
The local weather and climate of the Himalayas are sensitive and interlinked with global-scale changes in climate, as the hydrology of this region is mainly governed by snow and glaciers. There are clear and strong indicators of climate change reported for the Himalayas, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir region situated in the western Himalayas. In this study, using observational data, detailed characteristics of long- and short-term as well as localized variations in temperature and precipitation are analyzed for these six meteorological stations, namely, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Kokarnag, Qazigund, Kupwara and Srinagar during 1980–2016. All of these stations are located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. In addition to analysis of stations observations, we also utilized the dynamical downscaled simulations of WRF model and ERA-Interim (ERA-I) data for the study period. The annual and seasonal temperature and precipitation changes were analyzed by carrying out Mann–Kendall, linear regression, cumulative deviation and Student's t statistical tests. The results show an increase of 0.8 ∘C in average annual temperature over 37 years (from 1980 to 2016) with higher increase in maximum temperature (0.97 ∘C) compared to minimum temperature (0.76 ∘C). Analyses of annual mean temperature at all the stations reveal that the high-altitude stations of Pahalgam (1.13 ∘C) and Gulmarg (1.04 ∘C) exhibit a steep increase and statistically significant trends. The overall precipitation and temperature patterns in the valley show significant decreases and increases in the annual rainfall and temperature respectively. Seasonal analyses show significant increasing trends in the winter and spring temperatures at all stations, with prominent decreases in spring precipitation. In the present study, the observed long-term trends in temperature (∘Cyear-1) and precipitation (mm year−1) along with their respective standard errors during 1980–2016 are as follows: (i) 0.05 (0.01) and −16.7 (6.3) for Gulmarg, (ii) 0.04 (0.01) and −6.6 (2.9) for Srinagar, (iii) 0.04 (0.01) and −0.69 (4.79) for Kokarnag, (iv) 0.04 (0.01) and −0.13 (3.95) for Pahalgam, (v) 0.034 (0.01) and −5.5 (3.6) for Kupwara, and (vi) 0.01 (0.01) and −7.96 (4.5) for Qazigund. The present study also reveals that variation in temperature and precipitation during winter (December–March) has a close association with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Further, the observed temperature data (monthly averaged data for 1980–2016) at all the stations show a good correlation of 0.86 with the results of WRF and therefore the model downscaled simulations are considered a valid scientific tool for the studies of climate change in this region. Though the correlation between WRF model and observed precipitation is significantly strong, the WRF model significantly underestimates the rainfall amount, which necessitates the need for the sensitivity study of the model using the various microphysical parameterization schemes. The potential vorticities in the upper troposphere are obtained from ERA-I over the Jammu and Kashmir region and indicate that the extreme weather event of September 2014 occurred due to breaking of intense atmospheric Rossby wave activity over Kashmir. As the wave could transport a large amount of water vapor from both the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea and dump them over the Kashmir region through wave breaking, it probably resulted in the historical devastating flooding of the whole Kashmir valley in the first week of September 2014. This was accompanied by extreme rainfall events measuring more than 620 mm in some parts of the Pir Panjal range in the south Kashmir.
Full-text available
The quantitative estimate of soil erosion, in space and time, is valuable information to initiate land degradation measures at a watershed level. In this study, two models, Morgan Morgan Finney (MMF) and universal soil loss equation (USLE), were used in GIS environment to assess the soil erosion, as a function of land use/land cover, soil and topography in a mountainous watershed in the Kashmir Himalayan region, India. The two modelled soil erosion estimates were validated using the available land degradation maps of the area in order to determine their efficacy for soil erosion modelling. The results from the two models showed some similarity between the two soil erosion estimates. However, keeping in view the soil deposition being taken into consideration by MMF (47.33% of watershed area), the disagreement with the USLE soil estimates is understandable. USLE estimated 72.52% of watershed area under 0–1 kg m⁻² year⁻¹ while as the MMF model estimated only 41.27% of the watershed area in this category. In both the model results, almost equal area of the watershed has been classified with erosion > 10 kg m⁻² year⁻¹ category. Based on the model validation with the available land degradation data, the USLE estimates of soil erosion were found more reliable because of the good correlation with the land degradation maps. The erosion estimates worked out in this study, particularly the categories under very high, high, severe and very severe eroded areas, shall go a long way in framing up the strategies for mitigation and control of soil erosion in the mountainous Himalayan watershed.
Full-text available
This research explains the background processes responsible for the spatial distribution of hydrochemical properties of the picturesque eutrophic Himalayan Lake, Dal, located in Kashmir valley, India. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were used to understand the spatiotemporal variability of 18 hydrochemical parameters comprising of 12,960 observations collected from 30 sampling sites well distributed within the lake at a grid spacing of 1 km² from March 2014 to February 2016. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) grouped all the sampled data into three clusters based on the hydrochemical similarities, Discriminant analysis also revealed the same clusters and patterns in the data, validating the results of HCA. Wilk’s λ quotient distribution revealed the contribution of ions, nutrients, secchi disk transparency, dissolved oxygen and pH in the formation of clusters. The results are in consonance with the Principal Component Analysis of the whole lake data and individual clusters, which showed that the variance is maximally explained by the ionic component (46.82%) followed by dissolved oxygen and pH (9.36%), nitrates and phosphates (7.33%) and Secchi disk transparency (5.98%). Spatial variability of the hydrochemistry of the lake is due to the variations in water depth, lake water dynamics, flushing rate of water, organic matter decomposition, and anthropogenic pressures within and around the Dal lake ecosystem. Overall, the water quality of the lake is unfit for drinking due to the presence of coliform bacteria in the lake waters.
Full-text available
The 2014 extreme flooding in Kashmir, with the peak discharge exceeding 115,000 cfs and the Jhelum River overflowing its banks, was triggered by the complex interplay of atmospheric disturbances causing widespread extreme rainfall for 7 days preceding the event. We used multisource data in GIS environment; satellites, hydro-meteorological, socioeconomic and field data, to assess the role of various factors in the flooding. The event was aggravated by the geomorphic setup of the Valley. Tributaries in the south, characterized by high gradient, decreased time of runoff concentration and increased flood peakedness with short lag, almost simultaneously discharge enormous volumes of floodwaters into the Jhelum around Sangam. Owing to the flat gradient of the Jhelum from Sangam downstream (<5o), floods historically inundate vast areas in the stretch. The situation was exacerbated by the anthropogenic drivers, such as extensive urbanization of the floodplain, loss of wetlands, and decreased channel capacity due to the siltation from the deforested mountainous landscapes. The dilapidated flood control infrastructure and the institutional inability to manage the enormity of the event made the situation worst causing unprecedented damage to the infrastructure in the basin with the capital city Srinagar inundated up to ∼30ft for more than a week.
Wetlands in Kashmir are showing myriad signs of deterioration. In the present study, we assessed the spatio-temporal variations in the land use land cover of a semi-urban Narkara wetland, Kashmir, using high-resolution satellite data of 1965, 1980, and 2016. We also analyzed the impact of land system changes on the health Narkara wetland by estimating soil loss in the catchment of Narkara wetland using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) in GIS during the observation period. The land system changes indicated a massive increase of ~ 2663% in built-up area, while the area under agriculture showed ~ 78% decrease between 1965 and 2016. Small insignificant changes were manifest in other land cover types as well. The soil erosion estimates for the wetland catchment for 1965, 1980, and 2016 indicate 106.33 t ha⁻¹ soil detachment for 1965, 120.21 t ha⁻¹ for 1980, and 62.16 t ha⁻¹ for 2016. This significant reduction in the soil erosion is attributed to the barren lands and agriculture being taken over by built-up area between 1980 and 2016. The reckless urbanization both within Narkara and its catchment not only affects the hydrology and ecology of this important semi-urban wetland but also increases vulnerability of people to flooding in this part of Himalaya.