Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Mains Question 7th August-2020


Q) “Rapid, unplanned urbanization leads to shrinking of water bodies.”  Elucidate?


  • Lakes and wetlands are an important part of urban ecosystem.
  • They are the sources for drinking water, recharging groundwater and supporting biodiversity.
  • Due to urbanization water bodies number is declining rapidly.
  • Earlier Bangalore had 262 lakes in 1960, now only 10 of them hold water.
  • In Ahmedabad 137 lakes were listed in 2001, among them 65 lakes are used for construction.

Reasons for shrinking water bodies:-

  • Increase in urban Population:-The increase in the urban population without corresponding expansion of civic facilities such as infrastructure for the disposal of waste.
  • Migration:-As more people are migrating to cities, the urban civic services are becoming less adequate.
  • Conversion of water bodies:-
  • The water bodies have been turned into landfills in several cases.
  • For example:-Guwahati’s Deepor beel is used by the municipal corporation to dump solid wastes. Even the Pallikarni marshland in Chennai is used for solid waste dumping.
  • Use of water bodies for religious purposes: –
  • The local communities are misusing the water bodies for their cultural or religious festivals such the immersion of idols.
  • Heavy metal concentration can be found in lakes.
  • Illegal mining activities: Illegal mining for building material such as sand and quartzite on the catchment areas have damaged the water body.
  • Unplanned tourism activities:
  • Using water bodies to attract tourists has become a threat to several urban lakes in India.
  • For example:-Tso Morari and Pongsho lakes in Ladakh have become polluted because of unplanned and unregulated tourism.
  • Absence of Data: The government doesn’t have any data on the total number of urban water bodies present in the country.

Impact on water bodies:-

  • Change in stream course:-Natural streams and watercourses have been altere
  • Result in floods:-Large scale encroachments on the natural drains and the river flood plains. Consequently, the capacity of natural drains has decreased, resulting in flooding


  • There should be integrated development of infrastructure services in cities
  • There should be establishment of linkages between asset-creation and asset-management through reforms for long-term project sustainability.
  • Green building concepts should be implemented.
  • As suggested by the administrative reforms commission states should undertake “activity mapping” of water bodies
  • The states should involve the municipal governments and share the responsibilities to them.
  • Create the awareness among communities and local people and also share responsibilities among them.
  • Urban planning mechanisms need to unify with land records keeping, integrate land use with transport planning, and embed municipal plans into district and regional plans.


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