LAKE PROTECTION FORUM
Lake Protection Forum (LPF) is an attempt to capacitate, engage and cultivate ownership among local communities and ensure equity participation for the adaptive management of the heavily used Vembanad Socio-Ecological System (SES), the sustainability of which lies in the active involvement of the dependent communities in its governance. This is possible only by institutionalizing community rights over protection and harvest of the natural resources.
With the leadership of ATREE CERC, fisher-folk and local people were organized to form a registered body to protect and conserve the lake’s natural resources and the livelihood of the fisher folks. The first Lake Protection Forum (LPF) was formed in Muhamma, Alappuzha. Setting up of matsyathavalam (fish sanctuary) on an experimental basis and conservation activities shot this LPF to the media limelight. Delighted by the success of the first LPF, more and more village collectives came forward and 13 such LPFs are now registered around the Vembanad Lake. Lake protection forums are now emerging as well organized grass root democratic institutions of the primary stakeholders committed for the conservation and sustainable management of the Vembanad SES.
All LPFs are federated under the Samyutka Vembanad Kayal Samrakshana Samithy (Federation of Vembanad Lake Protection Forums), an apex body to which all LPFs are members with equal stakes.
Their major contributions include setting up of “Matsyathavalam” (fish sanctuary) and awareness-building activities like promotion of ethical fishing practices and conservation actions like Mandala plastic cleaning campaign, participatory water quality monitoring and celebration of important days in conservation such as World Wetlands Day, World Environment Day etc.
JALA - KAYAL SAMRAKSHANA SAMATHYS' (JLSS - water & lake protection forums)
Community-based institutions have been established for decentralised management of drinking water in Kuttanad, Alappuzha. With the support from the Kuttanad Package, Government of Kerala, 25 forums are registered across Five Panchayats in Alappuzha. Grama Panchayats and CERC conducted Participatory Rural Appraisal to identify water-scarce areas and user groups. All the user groups are organised under ‘(Placename) Jala Kayal Samrakshna Samathys’ (water and lake protection forums) and a team of elected representatives among them operate and manage the scheme under the guidance of each Grama Panchayat. They are given training for the operation and maintenance of the reverse osmosis plants provided under the project. So far we have commissioned 24 Reverse. Osmosis plants in Kavalam, Pulinkunnu, Veliyanad, Kainakary and Muhamma Grama Panchayats.