Wular Lake, the second largest natural freshwater lake in Asia, is situated in Bandipora district of Kashmir. The size of the lake is 16 km long and 10 km wide, but varies according to season due to varying water levels. The area of the lake has reduced from 157 sq. km to 86 sq km in three decades.
It plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of the Kashmir Valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for annual floodwater. The lake with its associated wetlands is an important habitat for migratory water birds and supports rich biodiversity. Livelihoods of lakeshore communities are primarily dependent on lake resources, including fish and aquatic vegetation.
The lake area has reduced mainly due to conversion for agriculture, plantation and encroachment on its shores. One fifth of the water holding capacity has been lost over the last three decades due to siltation.