|District: Kapilbastu, Lumbini zone
VDC Niglihawa, ward no. 1,3 and 4
Constructed: In 1972
Elevation 197 m above seas level
Ramsar enlistment 13 Aug, 2003
Wetland area 225 hectares
Water source Rivers (Banganga and Koili) flowing from Chure range
Castes Tharu, Yadav, Muslim, Kurmi, and other hilly migrants
Jagdishpur Lake is the biggest manmade lake and one of the 9 Ramsar sites of Nepal. It was constructed for irrigation purpose. At present, the management responsibility of the lake is being jointly shared by district forest office, western irrigation development division and irrigation users committee.
Jakhera Lake was reconstructed in 1972 AD to the present day Jagdishpour Lake. The lake is 2 to 7m deep with an area of 2.25 sq. km and water volume of 4.7 million cubic meters. Among the 124 important places of Kapilbastu enlisted in the ancient category, 3 are in Niglihawa VDC.
Jagdishpur Lake is one of the 27 “important bird areas” of Nepal. It harbors 118 species of birds in which 3 are on the verge of extinction. According to a study, of the 201 species of fishes in Nepal, 39 indigenous species are found in Jagdishpur Lake. This lake is home to 39 species of reptiles and 13 species of mammals. Wild cat, golden jackal, fox, golden lizard, mongoose, squirrel and boar are some of the animals found in the lake.
- Major problems of Jagdishpur Lake area
In spite of being a Ramsar site, Jagdishpur Lake is not managed properly. Important plant species have been lost due to open grazing on the lake surroundings, and the problem of excessive siltation /sand extraction.
Local agencies are neither institutionally strong nor aware of environmental problems and also lack a good coordination system which has made conservation of the lake difficult. Communities residing on the lower part of Jagdishpur Lake are more enthusiastic about irrigating larger area of land than about sustainable management of the lake. The biodiversity of the entire lake is at peril due to excessive exploitation of resources. Even though the communities here are equipped with indigenous knowledge required for proper management of the wetland, they do not seem to make proper use of it.
Physical infrastructure of the area is very weak. There are no hotel or home stay facilities for tourists visiting the wetland. Excessive open grazing, unscientific farming practice, encroachment etc. are some of the problems the lake is fraught with.
In this context, Alliance for Integrated development has started “Conservation of Wetland Based Resources and Its Sustainable Use for Livelihood Promotion Project” for two years since 2013. The major objectives of this program are to organize income generation programs based on wetland, to build capacity of users committee for multi-dimensional and wise use of wetland resources, and to start and promote programs related to alternative energy use.
- Achievements till date
- Initiation of organic farming system
Given the negative effects of extravagant use of chemicals and fertilizers on biodiversity of the lake area, two interaction programs were organized for 66 people in order to inform them about organic farming, its importance and affirmative effects on wetland health. As a result, organic farming has been started in 10 hectares of land. Farmers have followed a variety of methods to produce organic fertilizers and bio-pesticides. They are attracted towards organic farming as it is cheaper and sustainable.
- Support for sustainable livelihood
Numerous income generation activities have been initiated to minimize grazing and farming in the lake area. Each of the 32 households has been able to earn Rs. 18000 to Rs. 32000 per season by selling vegetables grown organically. Many poor and disadvantaged groups have been able to earn their livelihood by selling leaf plates and local medicines from the leaves and grains of water lily as well as mattresses and baskets made from grasses obtained from the lake area. 87 locals trained on vegetable farming through 3 orientation programs have been able to put their knowledge into practice. 6 saving groups have mobilized their money in a revolving fund at 12 percent interest for alternative income generation at the local level.
- Protection of river banks
Several efforts have been made to protect Banganga river bank,s which is adjacent to the lake, through plantation of about 13 hectares of unfarmed land by 450 farmers, grazing management and proper maintenance of plantation area. The land has been covered with 8000 plants including Soapberry (Rittha), White Cedar (Bakaino), Phyllanthus (Amala), Java plum (Jamun), Arjun tree, Silk Cotton Tree (Simal), Lebbek Tree (Sirish), Catechu (Khayer), Neem, Bamboo (Bans), Myrabalan wood (Harro), Beleric Myrobalan (Barro), Wood Apple (Bel), and Sissoo. This agro-forestry program is expected to protect more than 50 hectare land from river cutting.
- Support for village tourism
A number of eco-tourism programs integrating Lumbini and Tilaurakot with Jagdishpur have been held. A network has been expanded by forming Gautam Buddha Lake conservation committee and building its institutional capacity. In the lead role of this committee, an action plan for village tourism has also been drafted by holding 3 interaction programs among the stakeholders. As per this program, ethnic musical instruments have been provided to Harnampur village, ward no. 3 for the conservation of Tharu culture. The committee has also initiated programs to ensure the formation of Tharu cultural group, home stay facility, and bird observation.
Information, education and communication materials have been made and distributed local schools and other institutions for sustainable wetland conservation. Conservation efforts are regularly broadcasted through a local radio Buddha Awaz, and eco clubs actively participating in such activities awarded to encourage a trend of conservation. After a study of ancient places around Jagdishpur Lake, a book on the subject is being produced. Local stakeholders have been informed about international treaties and conventions. As a consequence of enlightening youths and children about the importance of water fowls, they have initiated a campaign for collecting catapults. A process of recording the names of species found in the wetland area has been started with a joint effort of wetland conservation committee and eco clubs.
- Poaching and smuggling control
Three separate poaching and smuggling control programs have been started, one by over 450 youths and school students, the next by 90 wetland management committee representatives and the other by 110 community forest users group members. With a rise in “the lake is ours” sentiment, even the groups that were previously involved in illegal activities have now joined the conservation league. School students have been further encouraged to promote anti-poaching and anti-smuggling activities through extracurricular programs. Accordingly, such poaching and smuggling activities have ceased completely.
- Forest conservation through alternative energy promotion
Rice husk stoves have been arranged for the poor and disadvantaged groups for the conservation of riverine forest (adjoining the Banganga River) lying close to Jagdishpur Lake. Gautam Buddha lake conservation committee played a major role in this endeavor by selecting appropriate households and distributing the stoves. Since the use of cow dung as cooking fuel is very high in the region, the harm posed by dung cakes and the beneficial impacts of using husk stoves were shared with over 200 people.
In case of further queries regarding this project, please contact:
Alliance for Integrated development
Bharatpur , Chitwan, Kathmandu
Phone number 056- 520601, Fax 056520601