Q: What protection do lakes enjoy in urban / rural landscapes? Under what jurisdiction do they come? Are they protected? How does one report violations about lakes — both protection to the waterfowl as well as the lake itself?

Asked by Vinaya Kumar, Bangalore

Answer from Praveen Bhargav & Shekar Dattatri:

  1. Some lakes / water bodies / wetlands such as Bharatpur, Ranganathittoo or Vedanthangal are notified as protected areas and enjoy the same protection as any sanctuary or a national park.
  2. Waterfowl listed in any of the Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) receive legal protection from hunting and anybody found even in possession of a gun near any lake can be prosecuted under the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA). For more details read a relevant CI post: Duck Hunting At Karenahalli Kere, Bangalore
  3. Water bodies, even if they are not protected areas, receive some protection under Land Revenue laws in some states. If anybody is found encroaching a water body or causing damage action can be taken by Revenue officials. A citizen can complain to the Deputy Commissioner (DC or Collector) of the district or to the Asst. Commissioner (AC) of the sub-division or to the Tahsildar of the taluk where the lake/waterbody is located.
  4. Also polluting a water body (in urban or rural landscapes) may attract punishment under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) or the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act that establishes an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution. It establishes standards for water quality and effluent. Polluting industries must seek permission to discharge waste or effluent into water bodies. State pollution control board (PCB) has powers to intervene and issue directions to stop pollution and even file cases. Sewage Treatment Plants have to comply with strict water quality standards laid down for treated water. The CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) was constituted under this act.
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