Vembanad Lake

One of India’s largest and the longest lakes is the Vembanad lake which is also called Punnamada. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Kerala. A narrow reef separates it from the sea and lies on the right side of the Arabian Sea.

Also, right after the Sunderbans in West Bengal, this lake is the second-largest Ramsar site in the country. UPSC exam aspirants should know this geographical marvel of the country as a part of their exam preparation.

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Where is the Lake situated?

The Vembanad Lake in India map will showcase the river’s location in Kerala. The length of the lake is 96.5 km, and the width is 14 km with a depth of 12m, i.e., 39ft. It has also been recognized under the National Wetlands Conservation Programme. The official name of the lake is Vembanad-Kol Wetland.

What is the significance of Vembanad Lake?

This lake is recognized as one of the wetlands with international significance by the Ramsar Convention. This is why the convention works towards the conservation and sustainability of this wetland. Also, it is a shelter to more than 20,000 waterfowls and an appropriate habitat for shrimps. The lake is also significant for its subfossil and clam resources.

Preparing for Vembanad lake UPSC will let candidates know that the chain of backwaters and lagoons along the coastal region makes it one of the most picturesque lakes in the country. This lake is extraordinary in climate, hydrology, physiotherapy, flora and fauna, geography and geology.

What is the ecological importance of the Lake?

The lake serves ecology in various ways. It helps recharge groundwater aquifers, moderate droughts and streamflow regulation. Both aquatic and semi-aquatic plants and animals consider this lake their habitat, which again contributes to the sustainability of terrestrial animals. Besides, many people living on the shores depends upon the lake. The occupation they are involved in includes fishing, tourism, coir retting, inland navigation, lime shell and agriculture.

All of the above information is highly important for candidates preparing for UPSC Prelims. In addition, questions about the lake and its ecology are quite common in the examination.

IAS aspirants can refer to the following links given below:

Ramsar Convention and its mission

Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017

Biodiversity Hotspots in India

Biosphere Reserves in India

IUCN Red List

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

What is the geographical distribution of Vembanad Lake?

The lake is surrounded by three islands, namely, Pathiaramanal, Pallippuram and Perubalam, spread across more than 2033.02 km area. The lake is fed by ten rivers that include the six main rivers of Kerala. Almost 15,770 square km is the entire area drained by the lake.

Over the years, the water spread area of the lake is consistently decreasing. For instance, in the year 1917, it was 290.85 square km, 1971 was 213.28 square km, and then in 1990, it was 213.28 square km. Research has stated that the depletion of the area is almost 37 per cent of its original size due to land reclamation causing a severe ecological threat.

How is Vembanad Lake affected by pollution?

Heavy metals and pesticides have caused massive contamination in this lake. This, in turn, has created health risks for people living in and around the lake. Studies conducted have showcased that the contamination may lead to the disruption of biochemical processes and the biological body.

In addition, household waste and industrial activities have majorly impacted this zone in Kerala. This has led to the waning of transparency and depth of the Vembanad estuary along with dissolved oxygen level. The decrease in oxygen level is mainly due to houseboat tourism and sewage discharge. Rusted boats, waste dumping and development activities that have been taking place in the canals of Alappuzha have given birth to massive contamination. Current Affairs news can throw more light on the subject.

However, substantial issues have arisen with the uncontrolled mining of shells and are a hazard to the ecosystem. Candidates appearing for the IAS Exam must be thorough with such questions and be well-informed.

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Other Related Links

Environment And Ecology Notes For UPSC

Topic-Wise GS 3 Questions for UPSC Mains

UPSC Prelims Previous Year Environment and Ecology Questions

Environment & Ecology Questions in UPSC Mains GS-3

Environment Questions & Answers for UPSC

UPSC MCQ On Environment – IAS Prelims

Frequently Asked Questions on Vembanad Lake


How was Vembanad lake formed?

The lake was formed in two different ways. Initially, it was in the tectonic phase, which formed through natural sedimentation. This was then affected by currents, tides and waves.


Vembanad Lake in which district?

The lake is situated in Kerala and spans several districts. Some of these districts are Kottayam, Kochi, Vaikom, Alappuzha etc.


What kind of birds can be found in Vembanad?

One can witness various migratory birds during the season. This is one of a kind fragile ecosystem that has welcomed 100 birds as their natives.


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