Examining stakeholders’ views and opinions for river conservation in India: A case study from Pune, Maharashtra
Nishikant Gupta and Ishaan Kochhar
Rivers are threatened by numerous stressors, and the projected impacts of climate change warrants strategies for their protection. Incorporating stakeholders’ views and opinions in conservation policies can assist with their sustainability and success. The rivers of the district of Pune in Maharashtra, India face severe threats despite being a lifeline for some local communities. An online survey conducted between 2016 and 2017 to assess the views and opinions of the residents of the city regarding their rivers resulted in 160 responses, where 98% of the respondents mentioned that the rivers need protection. Pollution (47%) and management issues (25%) were identified as the dominant adverse issues, and legislative support (31%) a potential protective measure. Overall, 73% of the respondents felt that protecting their rivers could possibly assist with water shortages (in varying degrees). Additionally, an examination of Global Surface Water Explorer datasets (1984-2015) revealed that over a span of 32 years, new surface waterbodies had appeared, and significant ones had disappeared from the city. The authors recommend adaptive strategies to assist these ailing rivers.
KEYWORDS: Freshwater, Maharashtra, remote sensing, Sahyadri, Western Ghats.