The Wular lake in Bandipore district, Jammu and Kashmir, India is the largest freshwater lake in India. This lake is 24 Kilometers long, 10 Kilometers wide and is situated at an altitude of 1,580 meters. The maximum depth of Wular lake was found to be 14 meters. Wular lake is also the second largest freshwater lake in Asia.
Wular Lake not only acts as a hydrographic system of the Kashmir Valley but it also is a source of 60% fish production in the region. Around 8,000 fishermen depend on this lake for their livelihood. Every year this lake absorbs a huge amount of flood waters coming from nearby rivers such as Bohnar, Madamati, Erin, Jhelum and Ningal due to which huge amount of silt gets deposited.
During the winter season, migratory birds: Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Aythya farina), Mallard, Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), Pallas´s Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), etc. take shelter around this beautiful lake.
That’s why in 1986, due to the biological, hydrological and socio-economic importance of the Wular lake it was considered as a Wetland of National Importance under the Wetlands Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for conservation and management of this lake. Later on in 1990, it was also included as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
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However, recently this lake has been facing problems due to the pollution caused by fertilizers and pesticide residues. Nearby forest lands have been converted into agricultural lands where farmers practice commercial farming. Moreover, because of increased human activities due to tourism, waste management has become difficult.