Vembanad Lake History, Map, System, Pollution and Importance

Vembanad Lake is also commonly referred to as Vembanad Kayal or Vembanad Kol and is situated in Kerala, spanning several districts. As it passes through the different districts, it goes through several local name changes as well.

Vembanad Lake Details

Name of the Lake Vembanad Lake; also Punnamada Lake, Kochi Lake
Sources of Origin Six rivers- Achankovil River, Manimala River, Meenachil River, Muvattupuzha River, Pamba River and Periyar River
Location Spanning several districts in Kerala – Kochi, Kottayam, Alleppey
  • 96.5 kilometres (60 miles) in length
  • 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) at its maximum width
  • 12 meters (39 feet) at its maximum depth
Area 2033 square kilometres (785 square miles)

About Vembanad Lake

Vembanad Lake or Vembanadu Lake is in Kerala, spanning several districts including Kottayam, Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Kochi (Ernakulam). The lake is even named differently in these different districts – Vembanad lake in Kottayam, Kochi Lake in Kochi and Punnamada Lake in Alleppey. The lake predominantly lies in Kochi, and thus most prominently exists as Kochi Lake. A lot of islands also surround this portion of the lake, and the entire area as a whole is called the Vembanad wetland, which also encompasses the Vembanad backwaters.

Some parts of the Vembanad Lake have high levels of pollution, but most parts seem to be unaffected by the same. The lake is a host to several migratory birds, and is also home to over a hundred different birds. In fact, the lake also has the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary on its east coast, which is a major tourist attraction. Being at the heart of the famous Kerala backwaters, the Vembanad lake is filled with house boats that are perfect for attracting even more tourists to the wetland.

Vembanad Lake History

It should be known that Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India and it also happens to be the largest lake in Kerala with a surface area of 2033 square kilometres, or 785 square miles. It finds its roots in the remains of the Arabian Sea before it withdrew beyond the shore a thousand years ago. It was after this that the lake became part of the larger spectrum of the Kerala backwaters that the state is widely known for.

Vembanad Lake has a history of drownings that have taken place over the years. This includes a boat capsize in March of 1980 where thirty people drowned, in 1962 a motor boat capsized and killed several people, in 1987, a country boat carrying seven farm workers capsized, in 1990, a country boat was lost and another seven people died. The incident at the Vembanad Lake which is most commonly known is the Kumaran Asan incident which took place at the Pallana island 13 kilometres south of Alleppey which took place in 1924. Kumaran Asan was a poet and social reformer who drowned and died in the Vembanad Lake.

The Vembanad Lake is part of a larger wetland system, one which comes under the protection of the Ramsar Convention of 2002 which looked at the conservation as well sustainable utilisation of wetlands. The Vembanad Wetland system is one of three wetlands that were talked about during the Ramsar Convention.

Have a look at the List of Important Lakes in India that you need to know for your competitive exams to score well.

Vembanad Lake Map

On a map, Vembanad Lake lies at the bordering line of Kottayam, Alleppey and Kochi districts, such that it is stretched out over these three districts vastly. With a maximum length of 96.5 kilometres, a maximum width of 14 kilometres, a depth of 12 metres and a huge surface area of 2033 square kilometres, the Vembanad Lake is the largest lake in Kerala, as mentioned before. The Vembanad-Kol Wetland is the official name of the area that the lake encompasses, including the islands it houses, which are Pathiramanal island, Perumbalam island and Pallippuram island.

The Vembanad Lake finds its inflows from about six rivers, namely the Achankovil River, Manimala River, Meenachil River, Muvattupuzha River, Pamba River and Periyar River. Due to this, the water of Vembanad Lake is mostly freshwater from the rivers. The lake empties out into several canals, which also happen to be the linking factors of the Vembanad Lake to other coastal lakes in the area.

The lake is separated from the saltwater seas by a salt water barrier that was constructed for this very purpose, called the Thanneermukkom barrier. This barrier divides the lake into two parts, one where the freshwater from rivers is clean and the other part has more brackish water.

To put the location of the lake into perspective, Vembanad Lake passes through Kottayam at a point where the city lies between the lake and the highlands, and through Alleppey at a point where the city lies between the lake and the Laccadive Sea. Kochi is located right where the lake opens up into the Laccadive Sea, and is thus also named the port city.

Vembanad Lake System

The Vembanad Lake, stretching through multiple districts in Kerala, has quite an intricate network of other water bodies connecting to it and sprouting from it along its path. This network includes its inflowing rivers and its outflowing canals, and also the lagoons and estuaries that root from it. The inflowing rivers of the Vembanad Lake include Muvattupuzha River, Meenachil River, Pamba River, Achankovil River, Manimal River and Periyar River.

This is beneficial for water transportation facilities as the network that the canals, lagoons and estuaries of Vembanad Lake pass through several villages as well. On the whole, the network of canals stretches out in all four directions; from north to south, the total distance it covers is about 196 kilometres, and from east to west, the canals cover about 29 kilometres. For this reason, waterways running along the Vembanad Wetland have been declared a National Waterway.

Vembanad Lake Pollution

Vembanad Lake is said to be one of the most polluted water bodies in the world, according to some comprehensive research studies which have been conducted over the years. Research studies have been conducted to find out about the levels of microplastics in the Vembanad Lake, as microplastics are some of the most toxic pollutants today. The amount of the same was found to be extremely high in all ten samples which had been collected from different parts of the Vembanad Lake.

Research has found that the next most common pollutant in Vembanad Lake (after microplastics) include different materials like glass, metal, plastic, etc. Even things like textile, cardboard, cigarette buds and rope have been found in the lake, acting as pollutants. Pesticides from passing-by farms, sewage effluents, organic waste, etc. has led to an overall decrease in the oxygen level of the water. A decrease in oxygen levels is harmful for the aquatic life in any water body.

Vembanad Lake Importance

The Vembanad Lake, since it was part of the Ramsar Convention of 2002, holds incredible importance as a wetland holding not only national, but international importance. Within India, it is the second largest wetland site with mangroves stretching out to around 2033 square kilometres, coming in second only after the Sundarbans. Adding to its vastness, because of its long-stretched canals, it has also been given the title of a National Waterway.

The lake provides sustenance to several people in the areas it passes, which includes approximately 16 million people. This is not only in terms of providing them with their water needs, but also in terms of livelihood activities such as lime shell collection, fishing, tourism, agriculture, coir retting, and very importantly, inland navigation.

In terms of ecology, the Vembanad Lake is incredibly important as well. It has the third largest population of waterfowls in India, is the perfect home for various fish, and is even home to over a hundred breeds of birds. In fact, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is close to the lake as well.

Short Essay on Vembanad Lake – 200 words

Vembanad Lake lies in Kerala and is the longest lake in India and largest lake in Kerala. Its alternate names include Vembanad Kayal, Vembanad Kol, Punnamada Lake and Kochi Lake. It stretches out over three main districts of Kerala, which are Kottayam, Alleppey and Kochi and helps provide sustenance to all the people that come in its path. This includes by providing them with water and also means of livelihood such as fishing, agriculture, tourism, etc.

The sources of Vembanad Lake are a few freshwater rivers, namely Achankovil, Manimala, Pamba, Periyar, Muvattupuzha and Meenachil Rivers. The lake outflows through its canals which spread for vast distances in all four directions. It also encompasses several islands, such as Perumbalam, Pathiramanal, Palippuram, Willingdon Island and Vallarpadam island.

Vembanad Lake holds international importance as it has been included by the Ramsar Convention for conserving and sustainably utilising wetlands from the year 2002. Because of its widespread canal system, the lake has also been declared a National Waterway by India. It is also important because it is home to many fauna, such as several birds and fish.

However, like all other water bodies in India, even Vembanad Lake is highly polluted with several pollutants, such as microplastics, plastic, metal, glass, cloth, sewage, pesticides, etc. This is proving to be severely harmful for the aquatic life living in the lake.

Vembanad Lake

10 Lines on Vembanad Lake

  1. Vembanad Lake has a maximum length of 96.5 kilometres, maximum width of 14 kilometres, maximum depth of 12 metres, and surface area of 2033 square kilometres.
  2. Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India and largest lake in Asia.
  3. Vembanad Lake passes through three districts of Kerala – Kottayam, Alleppey and Kochi.
  4. The source of Vembanad Lake is freshwater rivers.
  5. Vembanad Lake has a large system of estuaries, lagoons and canals.
  6. Vembanad Lake is part of the three internationally important wetlands of the Ramsar Convention.
  7. Many accidents by drowning have taken place on the Vembanad Lake over the years where boats have been capsized and people have died.
  8. Vembanad Lake provides sustenance to 16 million people.
  9. A lot of fauna such as fish and birds rely on Vembanad Lake.
  10. Vembanad Lake is one of the most polluted water bodies in the world by sewage effluent, pesticide, organic waste, microplastics, etc.

FAQs on Vembanad Lake

Question 1.
What is the size of Vembanad Lake?

The surface area or size of Vembanad Lake is 2033 square kilometres, and it is the largest lake in Kerala. It has a maximum length of 96.5 kilometres, making it also the longest lake in India. Its maximum width is 14 kilometres and its maximum depth is 12 metres.

Question 2.
How is Vembanad Lake related to the Ramsar Convention?

The Ramsar Convention took place in 2002 and aims at conserving and using wetlands sustainably. It looked at the three largest wetlands in India and the preservation and utilisation of the same. Vembanad Lake is part of this list of three wetlands, coming in a close second only to the Sundarbans.

Question 3.
What are the sources of the Vembanad Lake and where does its water flow to?

Vembanad Lake finds its sources in freshwater rivers, which are the following:

  • Achankovil River
  • Manimala River
  • Pamba River
  • Periyar River
  • Muvattupuzha River
  • Meenachil River

Its water flows out through different canals which flow 196 kilometres from north to south and 29 kilometres from east to west. In this way, the lake is also very well connected to a lot of villages surrounding Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alleppey.

Question 4.
What’s the importance of Vembanad Lake?

Vembanad Lake is home to a lot of kinds of fish and birds, and even has a bird sanctuary closeby. It also provides sustenance to 16 million people by providing water as well as means of livelihood in the form of fishing, tourism, agriculture, etc. Vembanad Lake is also a National Waterway because of its well connectedness via canals. It also holds international importance as a wetland through the Ramsar Convention.

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