Social Dilemmas in Public Participation in Urban Lake Management: A case of Thaltej Lakes in Ahmedabad, India

Author(s): Mansee Bhargava
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Institution or organization of origin: Amity University Chhattisgarh, Raipur
Country: India


The paper highlights the social dilemmas existing among the urban people regarding participation in the local urban lake management activities in India. The paper is a cumulation of findings from a series of awareness activities with the local people, followed by a door-to-door signature campaign pertaining to saving the urban lakes of Thaltej located in Ahmedabad; and finally a survey of local people of the neighbourhood asking them about the lakes, perception of the state of the lakes, water related issues, willingness to participate in lake improvement activities, willingness to accept the lakes in the current deteriorated state and the mode of participation. Thaltej lakes are a combination of four small water bodies and nearly hundred fifty years old located adjacent to the foothill of a plateau and a village named Thaltej. The lake and its services have shrunk physically as well as administratively. The health of the lakes are poor with two in eutrophic and two in dystrophic states. The neighbourhood is heterogeneous with the old village population and the new migrants belonging to higher, middle and lower income groups who live in the bungalows, apartments, village housing and slums. The survey and signature campaign covered representations from all. It is found that people from all segments are locked in typical social dilemmas of participation in the lake activities as why/what/how to do. Efforts are on to avert the typical social dilemmas to make urban lake management more participatory with lakes more sustainable.

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