Water

COVID-19 lockdown was a breather for Rajasthan’s lakes, rivers: Report

Low human intervention, stalled tourism helped improve quality of water bodies in the state 

 
By Sushmita Sengupta
Last Updated: Monday 25 May 2020
At Pushkar Lake, Rajasthan. The COVID-19 lockdown improved water quality in rivers, lakes and dams in the state. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The closure of industries and tourism activities to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) improved water quality in rivers, dams, canals and lakes in Rajasthan, according to a Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) report.

The report was drafted along the lines of Central Pollution Control Board report on lockdown effect on the Ganga and the Yamuna.

The RSPCB collected water samples at the end of April 2020 from 45 locations — at least 14 were from rivers; four from canals; 16 from lakes and 11 from dams.

Five parameters — biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductivity and total coliform — were studied from samples collected from surface water and compared to water quality observed in April 2019.

The BOD, COD and DO levels in river Chambal at Akelgarh, Kota, River Kali Sindh near M/s CFCL, Kota improved, according to the report. 

Similarly, water quality improved in Pushkar lake, upstream of Chhapi Dam and Piplaz dam.

In terms of only BOD, COD and DO, improvement in water quality was observed at Pichola Lake, Udaipur;  Kaylana Jheel, Jodhpur; Kodar Dam, Mount Abu; Lake Jet Sagar; Gambhiri Dam and Badi Ka Talab, Udaipur.

Lake BOD (%) COD (%) DO (%)
Pichola Lake, Udaipur (At Water Intake Point Of PHED) -17 -35 43
Pushkar Lake, Ajmer -71 -63 335
Kaylana Jheel Jodhpur, Rajasthan -39 -44 49
Lake Jet Sagar, Bundi -38 -52 31
Swaroop Sagar, Udaipur -30 -55 65

Improvement in water quality of lakes in Rajasthan in April 2020 in comparison to April 2019. 
Source: RSPCB, brief report on impact of lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic on surface water quality of Rajasthan, 2020

 

RSPCB concluded that the improvement was due closure of industries during lockdown and reduction of community bathing and washing activities in canals and the rivers. The lakes of Udaipur and Mount Abu were cleaner as tourism came to a halt here.

The report added that during lockdown, the floating population of pilgrims was zero at Pushkar. The water quality in dams improved due to very low human intervention near them and catchment areas, the report stated.

The pandemic taught us that improvement of water quality of such surface water sources is achievable if controlled measures are in place.

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