Environmental degradation poses a range of problems for mankind. Udaipur too has been smitten with a range of environmental issues owing to development, deforestation, and misuse of lakes over the recent decades.
The water crisis is one of the primary environmental issues encountered by Udaipur. Udai Sagar Lake lies in the eastern part of the city. It once had a strategic significance and met water requirements, but now meets the industrial requirements for water.
Rising population is one of the reasons why the lakes find it overwhelming to support Udaipur. The lakes are now characterized by high pollution levels and a lesser inflow of water. Despite being the city of lakes, Udaipur is currently dependent on external sources for the supply of water.
Demand for water in Udaipur stays more towards the higher side. The flowing traffic in Udaipur, induced by tourism is high. With the booming tourism industry, the in-migration is higher as well, as the tourism industry brings in more job opportunities.
Annual rainfall in Udaipur is around 640 mm. There is also runoff from the hills in the neighborhood. City planners have come up with ideas to store this water in tanks and lakes. It can later be directed towards irrigation channels that span across hectares.
The lakes are all interconnected to ensure that an overflow goes to the other. This makes Udaipur a prime example of good rainwater harvesting.
The pollution level in lakes of Udaipur still stays a matter which needs to be addressed. Indicators of high pollution levels are the blue-green algae, reduction in fish population and water hyacinth.
A water quality index of 50 represents good quality. Nevertheless, the WQI in Udai Sagar Lake and Pichola Lake are 180 and 120 respectively.
The government has been taking measures to tackle the issue. In 2008, the government sanctioned 125 crores for the rejuvenation of lakes. But the solutions have not been comprehensive. The lakes have now begun to affect groundwater, and the access to hygienic water is affected.
The changes in recent times have been vastly cosmetic, in the form of new ghats and fountains. They do not address the core water and environmental related issues prevailing in Udaipur.
The situation today indicates a dire need for change. The government and related authorities should gauge the depth of the situation and strike a balance between development and its effects on the sustainability of Udaipur’s ecosystem.
The issue of lakes should be addressed in particular. The pollution encountered by the lakes should be brought in check with the introduction of world-class standards in waste disposal management.
This will sustain Udaipur as a top tourist destination across the generations to come and there will be a marked reduction in health-related disorders. Udaipur will once again regain its lost glory.
Problems meet their requisite resolution only when an individual effort is involved. It may not be right to leave it to the government and NGOs to figure out a resolution.
Sustainable steps have been taken in this regard. As an example, students from Udaipur have developed environment-friendly bricks developed from industrial waste.
Some steps we can take for the environment of Udaipur at a personal level include:
- We should plant more trees. This can be at an individual, organizational or corporate level. This helps counter pollution and helps with maintaining soil quality. Several NGOs pertaining to the plantation of trees operate in Udaipur.
- People sometimes use Bawris for dumping the garbage. This should be avoided.
- People of Udaipur should practice water conservation.
All the photos are shot on iPhone XS by me.