Climate and Vulnerability Assessment of ‘Bahour Lake’

Water bodies like tanks/ponds/ooranies and rivers are an inherent part of Indian society and culture. They play a significant role in recharging groundwater, drinking water supply, irrigation, tourism, culture, etc. More importantly, the existence of water bodies is not only based on the presence of water but also depends on the presence of biota (flora and fauna). Pollution, encroachment and lifestyle changes have extremely impacted the biota in terms of density and diversity. As a result, the ecosystem services are slowly disappearing from the face of the earth. One such freshwater body of concern, that needs special attention is the Bahour Lake, the second largest lake of Puducherry, that is present in the rural setting at Bahour Commune. Currently, due to semi-urban lifestyles and extensive agricultural practices, this heritage site, which is both culturally and historically important is facing serious threats, necessitating policymakers’ attention. In view of this, Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, had initiated this research study in association with Pondicherry University Alumni, Dr. Golda A. Edwin and Dr. M. Nandhivarman, and the APSCC. This report highlights, the history of the lake, Bangaru Vaikkal, physical characters and hydraulic characteristics. Apart from commonly known challenges, 26 site-specific serious threats, that need immediate attention were identified and recommendations were provided. To further the Government of India and Puducherry initiatives in this sector; pond rejuvenation and its relevance to sustainable development goals, a green protocol for lake/ pond were also highlighted. As a concluding remark, to promote ‘ecotourism coupled with cultural heritage tourism’, unique selling propositions (USP) and measures for immediate rejuvenation were identified and recommended in the project assessment report.

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