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State PCS

Bihar State PCS

  • 17 May 2024
  • 2 min read
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Kanwar Lake

Why in News?

Once a haven for migratory birds, Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake and Bihar’s only Ramsar site, Kanwar is gradually disappearing.

Key Points

  • An oxbow lake is a curved lake formed alongside a winding river as a result of erosion and sediment deposition over time.
    • Oxbow lakes are typically crescent-shaped and are common features in floodplains and low-lying areas near rivers.
  • Kanwar lake, which used to be a popular tourist spot, has fallen victim to encroachments and is now battling for its existence.
    • The uncontrolled expansion of land and building of embankments along the nearby Burhi Gandak river has blocked the main water entry point to the wetland.
  • There is a shared belief that with governmental initiatives to restore the lake, it has the potential to reclaim its past grandeur and transform into a significant tourist destination, offering new job prospects for residents.

Kanwar Lake

  • It is also known as Kabartal jheel.
  • It is a residual oxbow lake, formed due to the meandering of Gandak river, a tributary of Ganga.
  • It is covering the majority of the Indo-Gangetic plains in northern Bihar.
  • The Wetland is an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, with 58 migratory waterbirds using it to rest and refuel.
  • It is also a valuable site for fish biodiversity with over 50 species documented.
  • Five critically endangered species inhabit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) – and two waterbirds, the sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
  • Threats: Major threats to the site include water management activities such as drainage, water abstraction, damming and canalization.

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