Comprehension exercise 7….
Cyclone Fani, which wreaked havoc in Odisha on May 3, has created four new mouths in Lake Chilika, one of the largest brackish water lakes in India.
The lake earlier had two mouths. The two more that have opened up could make the lake water more saline, thus affecting marine life. “There were two active mouths before Fani, but now we found four new mouths. There are chances some of the new mouths may merge with the old mouths,” said Susanta Nanda, the chief executive of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA).
“We are studying what sort of impact it will have on Chilika. The immediate impact could be that there would be migration of fish,” she explained. “There were some weeds which were not decaying due to less salinity, but now there are chances those weeds will start decaying as the salinity of the water will increase.”
However, the monsoons can interfere. “Monsoon will soon arrive and the fresh water from 52 rivers will moderate the salinity as well.” The lake is known to be a mix of fresh and salty water. “We are going to monitor the lake and see whether the new mouths remain as they are or are closed.”
When asked whether the CDA will endeavour to close the new mouths, Nanda said it wouldn’t because “we get one or two new mouths after every cyclone. Moreover, the transfer of sediments closes the mouth by itself. It is a natural phenomenon.”
According to the CDA, Fani hasn’t damaged the lake’s ecology – “but the plantations have been damaged. However, the mangroves at Chilika are fine, which is good sign.”
Sibaprasad Parida, an expert who contributed to the dolphin and bird census in Chilika, believes that the new mouths could change the lake’s fish population for the better. “The fish population will increase, which may increase the fish production from Chilika. The crab population will also increase.”
“However, there may be a decline in fresh water fish. The marine life will improve, as fish migration can now take place from both sides.”
[Taken from The Wire, written by Ms. Patasani]
Comprehension questions …
- What changes Cyclone Fani caused to the Chilika Lake? What will be the effect on the water of the Lake?
- What other changes might happen in the coming days and weeks to the many marine life forms of the Lake?
- What effect the coming monsoon might have on the Lake, and how?
- Why the authorities don’t feel the need to close the newly developed mouths of the Lake?
- What does Sibaprasad Parida feel about the impact of the cyclone on the Chilika Lake?
Q1. Cyclone Fani’s ferocity created four new mouths of the Chilika Lake. This will allow more sea water to enter the lake adding to its salinity.
Q2. Weeds that had thrived in the brackish water of the Lake might not survive the increased salt level of the water and might perish. The population of fishes and crab could increase that could be a bonanza for the fishermen.
Q3. About 52 rivers discharge their water into the lake. With monsoon rains, discharge from these rivers will increase significantly. This, in turn, would bring down the salinity of the water.
Q4. The authorities feel that the newly created mouths might close by themselves as sedimentation would deposit soil on the floor of the Lake.
Q5. Sibaprasad Parida feels that population of salt water fishes and crabs could go up, where as fresh water fishes population could dwindle in the coming months.