PANAJI: Under the Wetland (Conservation and management) Rule 2017, the Goa State Wetland Authority (GSWA) has instructed the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to provide information about 550 bodies of water, including lakes, that may be designated as wetlands.
Under the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) guidance, NIO has been tasked with identifying Goa’s wetlands since 2019.
According to sources, the Authority has requested information about the 550 water bodies that the NIO identified, including the number of water bodies that are located in forest and CRZ areas, the number of mining quarries, temple lakes, and other bodies of water that may be classified as wetlands under the Wetland Conservation Rule.
“The Authority is interested in knowing each of these water bodies’ precise location. Some are located in protected zones or in CRZ areas. Some of them go beyond what is considered a wetland. Those must be excluded, according to sources.
The Authority has made the decision to send letters to the Forest Department and the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) instructing them to submit the action plan for the management and conservation of the water bodies under their purview.
The Revenue Department has already been requested by the Authority to list all of the notified wetland areas on forms I and XIV of the Land Record, also known as the Land Register.
There are about forty wetlands in the state that have been notified.
To date, the Authority has established Lake Management Committees to oversee the administration and preservation of wetlands that have been notified. Members of the local community from the areas where the wetlands are notified make up the committee.
Lakes classified as wetlands are those whose ecosystem services and biodiversity are valued highly by both the local community and society at large.