Assessment of Water Quality in Harike Wetland - A Review
Harike, designated as Ramsar site, is the largest manmade riverine wetland in North India. It came into existence in 1952 with the construction of barrage near confluence of rivers Sutlej and Beas. It has high ecological significance as it is the habitat of diverse flora and fauna, source of food for animals and humans and plays an important role in underground water recharge. Despite all these diverse functions, the wetland is facing a threat of extinction because of increasing anthropogenic pressure from industrial development, agriculture and over extraction of water for irrigation. A number of studies have been undertaken to assess the water quality of Harike and the water is found to be unsafe for aquatic life as well as for human consumption. The review deals with the status of harike wetland in terms of water quality and causes of wetland loss. It also provides an overview of the methodology employed for physicochemical and biological analysis, heavy metal determination and use of remote sensing techniques for monitoring of various water quality parameters.