Conserving Catchment Area of Lakes through Development Regulations: A Case of Upper Lake in the City of Bhopal, India

Ar. Keerti Manisha


A lake provides a wide range of ecological services useful for the sustenance and betterment of human lives and other living organisms. A lake is a reflection of its catchment, if the catchment area is healthy, then the ecological services provided are better. The fast-paced development activities in the catchment area of lakes and the over-consumption of available resources are resulting in the degradation of lake’s ecological services. The Upper Lake in Bhopal, a million plus population city situated in the central part of India has been selected for the study. The current regulatory regime for environmental conservation of the catchment area comprises of a legislative framework and a set of regulatory institutions. Inadequacies in each result not only in accelerated environmental degradation but also delays and escalates the costs of development projects. Development control regulations for the catchment area of urban water bodies require a holistic approach. This paper is an attempt to find out the gaps in the existing institutional framework to conserve the catchment area. The focus is to identify and assess the major issues pertaining to the degradation of the Upper Lake and its catchment area and formulation of development regulations for its conservation. For the purpose of this study, the catchment area of Upper Lake has been delineated with the help of catchment area assessment technique. The existing development regulations and policies prevailing in the selected area has been reviewed for identifying the gaps responsible for environmental degradation of the catchment area. Geographic information system is used extensively for analyzing environmental status of the region in parallel with a primary survey targeting the village stakeholders in catchment area to analyze socio-economic profile and to assess the agricultural practices adopted. As an outcome, an institutional framework is formulated to conserve, govern and monitor the catchment area and the Upper Lake.


Catchment, Development Regulations, Ecosystem Services, Urban Water Body, Wetland

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