The National Institute of Oceanography has so far identified and mapped 35 wetlands in the state which could qualify for conservation under the provisions of the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules.
The NIO was roped in by the Goa State Wetland Authority to conduct a study on Goa’s water bodies.
However, the agency will take a year to complete the exercise which includes digital classification of wetlands using satellite image data and corresponding analysis of ground truthed data.
The wetlands are actually land areas covered by water, either temporarily\seasonally or permanently. Marsh, fen and peatland come under this category.
The wetlands play a key role in hydrological cycle and flood control, water supply and providing food, fibre and raw materials.
The NIO with the help of Geographic Information System is also preparing maps of each water body falling under the CRZ and in the protected areas (wildlife sanctuaries and national parks) for conducting a survey
and mapping these water bodies. There will be ground truthing work as well.
The country’s space agency ISRO had in 2011 come out with a national wetlands atlas on the basis of satellite image, mapping over two lakh wetlands, including 550 wetlands in Goa, covering around 4.63 per cent of the total geographic area of India.
However, the state did not want to rely on this data. Hence the Goa State Wetland Authority in August this year roped in the NIO to identify and carry out ground truthing for accurate identification of a wetland.
The authority was of the opinion that if ‘actual’ wetlands are not identified with ground truthing within a period of three months then it is likely that all the identified wetlands in the atlas may be declared as wetlands; or any order may be given by the Nation Green Tribunal.