Training Programme on Urban Lake Management: Towards Water and Environment Sustainability

Date: 22 to 24 June, 2015

The Water Programme at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), recently conducted a three day training programme on "Urban Lake Management: Towards Water and Environment Sustainability from June 22-24, 2015. It was organized under the "Capacity Building of Urban Local Body" (CBULB) programme sponsored by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Government of India. This training programme involved a series of sessions which were based on particular themes of urban lake management. The training involved presentations and group exercises that were delivered by academicians and practitioners who were experts in the field. 

The training received an overwhelming response of 32 nominations from the target states. A total of 26 participants from five states (Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi) attended this training programme.  Participants were mainly  from urban local bodies, development authorities, water supply and sewerage boards and public health departments that were involved in conserving, restoring and management of urban lakes and water bodies.

The aim and objectives of the training programme are as follows:

Aim: Capacity enhancement of city officials on conservation, restoration and management of lakes for water and environmental sustainability in urban areas.


  • Improved knowledge on urban lake management – the concepts, tools and techniques.

  • Develop skills in mapping of lake (and its catchment) and cleaning of urban lakes.

  • Understanding of lakes as a source of urban water supply and groundwater recharge. 

  • Update on existing and upcoming policies/guidelines/reforms on urban lake management and the way forward

  • Awareness on potential and benefits of conservation, restoration and management of lakes 

The first day of the training introduced participants to the principles, approaches and challenges of urban lake management globally and nationally. Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Programme Director (Water Programme, CSE) highlighted the dwindling state of lakes in India and pressed for the urgent need of sustainable urban lake management, stressing upon the need for capacity building and strict implementation of legislation. The day also included sessions delivered by Prof. Brij Gopal, Coordinator, Centre for Inland Waters in South Asia, who informed participants about the fundamentals of urban lake management. His presentation highlighted the significance of lakes as ecosystems and the importance and process of integrated lake basin management to maintain this ecological integrity. Dr Mahreen Matto, Programme Officer (Water Programme, CSE) outlined the roles and responsibilities of managing urban water bodies at the central, state and city scale. This was followed by a brief on the existing legal provisions dealing with the management of water bodies in India. 

Day 2 of the training focused on getting participants acquainted with Best Management Practices (BMPs) for pollution abatement in lakes, supported by case studies. Dr. Uday Bhonde, Deputy Programme Officer (Water Programme, CSE) delivered a session which aimed to make participants gain a holistic perspective to urban lake management by understanding the importance of “catchments” as an integral part of restoring, conserving and managing water bodies. In order to provide on-ground examples of BMPs for urban lake management, key experts involved in relevant projects were invited to share their experiences. Dr. S.D. Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Parks & Garden Society, gave an overview of the status and management of lakes in Delhi. This was followed by case studies by Mr. Manu Bhatnagar, Principle Director, INTACH, on the revival of Naini Lake (Uttarakhand) and Kankaria Lake (Gujarat) through an ecosystem approach and in-situ control measures. Dr. SM Misra, Senior Limnologist, Ex. Employee of Lake Conservation Authority of Madhya Pradesh, gave an in-depth overview of the interventions taken to improve the status of the Bhoj Wetland through the implementation of the Bhoj Wetland Project. To end the day, Dr. Bhonde explained the relationship and importance of urban lakes and groundwater and conventional methods to study the lake-groundwater interaction. 

Day 3 started off with a field trip to Neela Hauz Lake, New Delhi, where participants observed the ill-effects of poor lake management. Through this visit, participants identified key success factors that are necessary for successful and effective lake management. Following this, Dr. Matto touched on the basics of water quality monitoring stressing on having more coordination between various departments/ stakeholders and ensuring reliable and timely data collection and reporting. Ms. Chhavi Sharda, Research Associate (Water Programme, CSE) informed and updated participants of natural technologies such as decentralised wastewater treatment systems and constructed wetlands for pollution abatement in lakes, where details regarding their structure and design were explained. An interactive session on stakeholder identification was conducted, where participants had the opportunity to understand the importance of stakeholder involvement and the dynamics of stakeholder engagement for the successful implementation of a plan or project. To conclude, Dr. Rohilla, informed the participants on the elements of a robust and effective lake management plan, which includes several stages for success. His session explained key steps such as situation analysis, visioning and objective setting which were discussed in detail.   

All three days of the training included group exercises and discussions after sessions to give participants an opportunity to further understand the concepts that were imparted during the training and for more interaction and engagement with one another.  

The training programme was concluded with discussions on the way forward, in which participants deliberated about how the knowledge and skills gained from training programme would be beneficial for their future work. 

More details about the training are available at:  




For further information contact: 

Dr. Mahreen Matto 
Programme Officer 
Water Programme 
Centre for Science and Environment


" Subject is fully covered. More training on different subject should be arranged for benefit of ULB Engineers. "

Mr. M.K.Jain
Deputy Engineer, Ratlam Nagar Nigam

" The programme is beneficial to the local bodies employee for implementation of the project. The knowledge gained during the training can be directly implemented in the development of Shahadara Lake."

Mr. P.R. Meena
Executive Engineer, East Delhi Municipal Corporation

This course is quite relevant to all stakeholders who are involved with managing lakes/water bodies in or around towns. I feel that I can directly implement what I have learnt from the training.

Mr. Dilbag Singh,
District Town Planner, Panchkula T&CP Dept, Haryana