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

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Date: 21-23 September, 2015

The Water Programme at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), conducted a three day training programme on "Urban Lake Management: Towards Water and Environment Sustainability from September 21-23, 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. 

A total of 21 participants from five states (Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bihar, Tripura and New Delhi) attended this training programme.  Participants were mainly from urban local bodies, development authorities and water supply and sewerage boards 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. Dr. Mahreen Matto, Deputy Programme Manager (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 of municipal functionaries and strict implementation of legislation. The day also included sessions delivered by Dr. Suhas Khobragade, Scientist-E, National Institute of Hydrology, who explained the physical characteristics of lakes and highlighted the importance and process of integrated lake basin management to maintain this ecological integrity. Dr. S.K. Sharma, Ex. Member, Central Ground Water Board, explained the relationship and importance of urban lakes and groundwater and conventional methods to study the lake-groundwater interaction. 

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. Mr. Manu Bhatnagar, Principle Director, INTACH, presented his experience for the revival of a range of waterbodies in Delhi through an ecosystem approach and in-situ control measures. Ms. Shashikala Iyer, Outreach Coordinator, Environment Support Group (Bangalore), gave an overview of the various attempts to protect lakes in Bangalore, mainly through legal initiatives and promoting community awareness. The day ended with a field trip to HauzKhas Lake, New Delhi, to provide participants an example of an urban lake that has been revived with interventions by local authorities. 

On Day 3, 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 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. Matto informed the participants on the elements of a robust and effective lake management plan, which includes several stages for success. Her 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.  

More details about the training are available at: