Lake with Painted storks (Mycteria leucocephala). Bharatpur, India
Bhoj Wetland
Bhoj Wetland

Bhoj Wetland

Other RAMSAR Sites
Key Contact
Parikshit Gautam
(Director, Freshwater & Wetlands Conservation Programme)
WWF-India,
Secretariat,
New Delhi (IN) Main Office
T: +91 11 41504820

Overview
The Bhoj Wetland consisting of two lakes (Upper & Lower lakes) are manmade reservoirs. The Upper lake created in the 11th century by constructing an earthen dam across the Kolans river and the lower lake constructed nearly two centuries ago immediately downstream of the Upper lake, have catchment of 361 and 9.6 sq.km, respectively. Upper lake is surrounded by Van Vihar National Park on the south, human settlements on the east and north, and agriculture fields on the west whereas lower lake is surrounded by human settlements from all sides. Bhoj Wetland has been designated as a Ramsar site in November 2002.

Justification for Designation as Ramsar Site
It is an unique man-made wetland, characteristic of the Central Indian Plateau region. During the in tervening 900 years the ecosystem has stabilized and presently it represents a near natural wetland.
The wetland supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. Diverse flora provide ideal habitat in the form of food and shelter for a large number of avifauna. Due to biotic interaction and natural selection process a characteristic relationship between vegetation and the avifauna has developed.
A total of more than 20,000 birds have been observed annually. White stork, blacknecked stork, barheaded goose, spoonbill, etc., that have been rare sightings in the past have started appearing evidentially in the recent times.
A recent phenomenon is congregation of more than 100 - 120 sarus cranes in the lake. The largest bird of India, sarus crane (Grusantigone) is known for its size, majestic flight and life time pairing.


Biodiversity Values

Flora
106 species of Macrophytes (belonging to 87 genera of 46 families), which includes 14 rare species and 208 species of Phytoplankton comprising 106 species of Chlorophyceae, 37 species of Cyano phyceae, 34 species of Euglenophyceae, 27 species of Bacilariophyceae and 4 species of Dinophyceae.

Bhoj Wetland
Fauna
105 speices of zooplanktons,which includes (rotifera 41, Protozoa 10, Cladocera 14, Copepoda 5, Ostracoda 9, Coleoptera 11, and Diptera 25). Fish fauna consist of 43 species (natural and cultured spe cies), 27 species of avifauna, 98 species of insects and more than 10 species of Reptiles and Amphibians (including 5 species of tortoise) have been recoreded so far.

Social & Cultural Values
Ever since the lake was constructed in the 11th century, the Bhopal city has grown around it. Life of the people of Bhopal is very much centralized in and around the twin lakes and the people are religiously and culturally attached to the lakes. They meet their needs of daily potable water supply, washing clothes, cultivation of water chestnut in upper lake and lotus in lower lake. The idols of gods and godesses are also immersed in the lake during religous festivals. The Takia island in Upper lake has a tomb of the Shah Ali Shah Rahamatullah Alla, which has religious and archaeological significantly.

Threats
The water of the Upper lake was used for drinking purposes up to year 1947 without any treatment which proves that the water quality was very good. After Bhopal became the capital of Madhya Pradesh in 1956, it noticed tremendous population inflow and consequent rapid urban development which adversely affected the twin lakes.
The wetland is under constant threat due to discharge of sewage water, growth of thick mats of aquatic weeds in the peripheral areas and increasing silt load from the surrounding hills and its catchment area.

Conservation Measures
Under the Bhopal Lake Conservation and Management Project, regular water quality monitoring of both the lakes are being done. For this purpose 18 stations in Upper Lake and 14 stations in Lower Lake have been fixed. Physico - chemical and biological parameters are regularly analysed. Besides occasional studies during Idol and Tazia immersion are done at identified sites to assess the environmental impact with emphasis on heavy metal contamination of lake.

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