AU expert team to take three more years to complete the process

A pilot study on functioning of the ecosystems in the Kolleru and Chilika lakes is undertaken by a seven-member team of academicians from Andhra University and the Chennai-based Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management, according to P.D.N. Srinivas, a team member.The team of experts with a strong academic background on the subjects such as zoology, biology, chemistry, mathematics and environmental sciences has commenced the study in 2004 and it is expected to take at least three more years to understand the dynamics of the ecosystems of both the lakes, says Srinivas, Professor in Mathematics from Andhra University, while presenting a paper at a seminar at St. Theresa’s College for Women here on Saturday. The study would cover the whole gamut of the ecosystems ranging from the nutrients to the growth of aquatic life in the lakes, he added.

The Chilika Lake, spread over Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts of Odisha on the east coast covering an area of 1,100 km, is facing a serious threat to its natural formation as a brackish water lagoon with stoppage of seawater incursion in view of geographical changes, he said.

The phenomenon observed in 2000 had an adverse bearing on the aquatic life in the lake, migratory birds, and the living conditions of the local communities depending on fish catching in the water body. Fish and the other marine species used to come into the lake from the sea through flow of water in reverse direction for brooding. Such brooding in the lake came to a standstill now since suspension of seawater incursion, Mr. Srinivas said.

Although the local administration had created an artificial opening enabling seawater flowing into the lake, the effort yielded no results in view of its migration quite away from the vantage point and the story of the ecosystem was back to the square one in Chilika Lake now, the expert said. Drop in oxygen levels as a result of excessive growth of weeds and phytoplankton due to changes in the natural characteristics of the water body brought the very survival of aquatic life, he said. The study intends to come out with a lasting solution to the challenges posed to the two water bodies of international repute, he said.

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