Umiam Lake is a reservoir located in the hills 15 km to the North of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya, India. It was created by damming the Umiam river in the early 1960s. The principal catchment area of the lake and dam is spread over 220 square km.
The lake was formed as part of building a Dam. The dam started construction in 1965. The dam has the distinction of being the first Hydel power project in the North-east region of India.
The lake serves as a major tourist attraction for the state of Meghalaya. It is also a popular destination for water sport and adventure facilities. Tourists visit this spot for kayaking, water cycling, scooting and boating.
Apart from storing water for electricity generation, the lake also provides a large number of ecosystem services at micro, meso and macro levels. Downstream irrigation, fisheries and drinking water cater to local anthropogenic needs.
Toxic Threat and Silting
Due to the rising population of Shillong which is situated upstream of the lake, the lake is starting to become highly polluted. Also there is the heavy problem of silting. An estimated 40,000 cubic metres of silt enter Umiam Lake every year. Causes range between upstream encroachments, deforestation, blockage of natural drainage systems and unscientific mining et al. in the catchment area. Excessive silt load in the lake has lowered the storage.
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