Officials worried as Keoladeo National Park on verge of facing a drought

Updated on Jul 19, 2017 08:21 PM IST

The park officials said that water shortage is affecting the breeding of local birds, which may eventually hit tourist footfall.

Keoladeo National Park was established as a national park on in 1982 .(HT Photo)
Keoladeo National Park was established as a national park on in 1982 .(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times | By, Bharatpur

Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur may soon face a drought-like situation due to lack of rain in the monsoon season, raising concern among the park authorities.

The park officials said that water shortage is affecting the breeding of local birds, which may eventually hit tourist footfall.

“We will write to senior officials to provide water in the park like last year, when the park received sufficient water from Panchna dam in Karauli,” said KNP director Ajeet Uchoi.

“We are receiving some water from Chambal Drinking Water Project in Mallah, but it is not sufficient to meet the demand,” Uchoi added.

KNP, established as a national park on in 1982 and declared a World Heritage Site in 1985, has six lakes with a total water capacity of 500 million cubic feet (mcft), but all the lakes have turned dry due to lack of rain. The park has more than 2,000 birds of 15 species, which are forced to leave their nests in search of water outside.

Among the local birds are openbill stork, cormorant, snake bird, egret, painted stork, spoonbill, eye vish, grey heron, purple heron, cattle egret, large egret, medium egret and Indian seg. The birds breed before the monsoon season.

According to Uchoi, nearly 4,000 foreign tourists have visited the park in last three months.

Last year, 2,107 foreigners had visited the park during the same period after a good rainfall in 2016. According to the available data, 14,964 foreign tourists visited KNP from April 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Similarly, 17,071 tourists from foreign countries visited the park from April 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Uchoi said that the high turnout of tourists was possible only due to a good monsoon and water from the Panchna dam. “Eight blocks of lakes in the park were full of water after a good spell of rainfall and water released water from the Panchna Dam in July 2016. The park received 5.82 cusec water against its capacity of 550 cusec,” he said.

The tourist season in Keoladeo starts from the first week of October. It is the time when thousands of migratory birds from Europe, Siberia, China and Asia come to the park for nesting on babool (acacia) and stay till the first week of March.

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