Supporting Urban Sustainability
Presentation by
Team Kozhikode
April 26, 2013
Kozhikode or Calicut: An intro
• Historically important – known as the City of Spices – a major
trading point for eastern spices since Middle Ages
• Arab trade hub since at least 7th century
• Capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris
(Zamorins) – known as the City of Truth due to the honesty
and sincerity of the people
• Vasco da Gama landed at Kappad near Kozhikode in 1498,
thus opening a trade route between Europe and Malabar
• Became capital of Malabar during British times; later
colonisers were French and Dutch
• Captured by Mysore/Hyder Ali during 1700’s
• World famous cotton weaving centre – gave its name to Calico
• Famous for its construction of ‘uru’ (Arab trading
Kozhikode or Calicut: An intro contd….
• Third largest city in Kerala (after Thiruvananthapuram and
• Population – approx 20 lakhs
• 2nd best city in India to reside in (courtesy – economics
research firm Indicus Analytics)
• 11th among Tier II Indian cities in job creation (ASSOCHAM
• Premier institutions – IIMK, NIT, Medical College, Calicut
University; CWRDM, ZSI, NICD, Centre for Mathematics
• Recent developments – 2 IT ‘Cyber Parks’; ports
• Malls and other symbols of development coming up
Our enquiry question
How do we collaborate for effective
conservation of Kottuli Wetland and
Canoli Canal
for the benefit of all?
• Kerala is blessed with several rivers, lakes, backwaters, besides
monsoon rains lasting from 3-5 months
• Sadly, maintenance is becoming poor and water bodies are
• Kottooli is one among the 27 wetlands of National Importance
identified for development by the GoI
• Canoli (Connolly) Canal, linked to the wetlands is a man made canal
running alongside it, constructed in 1848 by the then Malabar
Collector H V Connolly.
• Kottooli wetlands and Canoli Canal are right in the middle of Kozhikode
A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a
distinct ecosystem. Primarily, the factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that is
adapted to its unique soil conditions: Wetlands consist primarily of hydric soil, which supports aquatic plants.
The Context
Kottooli Wetlands
• 250 acres in area
• Stretch of mangroves
• Biodiversity rich:
20 water birds species
2 species of birds associated with water
3 species of birds associated with water logged
9 species of land birds 11 species of fishes
1 species of prawn
1 crab species
7 mangrove species
2o mangrove associates
coconut trees
Other common species of
trees, bushes, grass, etc.
Kottooli Wetlands and Kozhikode
• Recharges groundwater aquifers in the city
• Is very valuable as source, sink and transformer
for various biological, chemical and genetic
• Largest eco patch within the city limits
• Maintains city’s ecological balance thru
preservation of species and biodiversity
• Potential for nature appreciation and
environmental learning
• Flood control through its link to Canoli Canal
Current status of Kottooli
• Heavy pollution – from city waste drains, residential
zones, hospitals, factories, etc.
• Tourist activities – Dream City project/Sarovaram
Biopark – construction within wetland area – picnic
spots, walkways, etc.
– Lack of guidelines for sound, lighting and waste
management within the periphery of the biopark
– Dumping of waste within the canal and wetlands
– Falls under CRZ Zone I but guidelines on construction in
the periphery not very clear
– Ownership problems – only 100 acres owned by
government (that too 4 depts – irrigation, revenue,
tourism and social forestry); rest owned by private parties;
construction of high rise buildings pose a major threat
Current status of Kottooli contd….
• Shrinkage of wetlands due to reclamation
• Real estate development activities – several
construction companies planning projects here
• Recent development:
– Permission given for construction of a sewerage
treatment plant within the wetlands area – work
already started with laying of pipelines
– Protests from local residents against this construction
as it will mean reclamation
Plans for Kottooli Wetlands
• A Management Action Plan prepared by CWRDM
for conservation of Kottooli with a multi
dimensional approach - mangrove afforestation,
desilting, pollution abatement, weed control, fishery
development, conservation of biodiversity and awareness
creation among local inhabitants and city-dwellers on the
need for conservation and wise use of the wetland – MoEF
has approved this and included the wetlands in the
Ecological Regeneration and Conservation Programme
• Plan for development of a Contemporary City
Open Space by IIA – tourism, recreation and cultural
activities while preserving the wetlands and canal – advocates
judicious use of the wetlands for public activities while
conserving the core area intact
Plans for Kottooli Wetlands
• Sarovaram Biopark – creation of a nature park with
two components - a conservation component of a wetland
ecosystem and a recreation component of facilities like
amusement and culture park and a food village – this is under
way with an open air auditorium, walkway and boating in the
canal, picnic spots in the wetland area, etc. already in use
• Other initiatives – involving local residents and training
them in enterprises like fish farming to ensure protection of
the wetlands
The Conflict
• Environmentalists : Conserve the wetlands as it is; make
sure no activities are allowed in the area; this will ensure
the wetlands act as the lungs of the city, providing clean air
and water
• Developmentalists : With the city’s population increasing,
prime land in the middle of the city will have to be used for
providing housing and other amenities
• Middle path followers : Development and use of land
cannot be prevented; so preserve the core of the wetlands,
identify the area that can be used for development and
allow development with strict guidelines for any activity
Canoli Canal
11.2 km long man made canal
Interlinked with Kottooli wetlands
Connects two rivers – Kallayi and Korapuzha
Receives tidal influx from both rivers
Provides flood control for the city
When constructed by the British, envisaged as
an alternative transport system to the roads
and railways
Canoli Canal – Current Status
• Heavily polluted due to 12 drainage outlets connected to it
at various points – toxic and waste water from hospitals,
hotels and residential areas being pumped in; claims that it
is treated water but reality is visible
• Recent threat from sewerage treatment plan – the treated
sewage water will be pumped into the canal; authorities
promise the quality of water will be monitored, but ……
• Shrinkage of the canal width at various points due to
encroachments, collapse of protection walls, etc.
• Hope: Recently Directorate of Inland Navigation has
approved a plan to revive the canal with desiltation and
construction of protection walls with NABARD funding –
reached tendering stage. Possible revival of canal as an
alternative transport system and/or recreational activity
SUS Project Steps
• Engagement workshop – March 9-10, 2013
• 2 Pre-workshop meetings with representatives
of various organisations
• Core and advisory teams formed
• Data collection – major activity planned
before April workshop in Ahmedabad
What we found – during data collection
• Couldn’t get a good map of the wetlands – existing
map more than 12 year old and does not reflect
current reality
• Many organisations have conducted studies on various
aspects of the wetlands – biodiversity, management,
water studies, etc – by institutions like CWRDM, IIM,
NIT, IIA, govt departments and others
• Getting reports and data very difficult especially from
govt sources – have to resort to RTI in some cases
• Some institutions ready to cooperate with the project
(eg IIA) while others are sceptic
Next Steps
• Get a map of the wetlands prepared
• Compile data and information regarding
various aspects and current status of wetlands
and make it available to stakeholders (eg.
Compile list of flora and fauna of the area,
water quality studies, etc.)
• Team also hopes to clarify some of the next
steps at this workshop
A heavily polluted part of the wetlands
The serenity of the wetlands
Buildings by the side of the canal
Heavy vegetation by the side of
the canal
Thank you!

SUS presentation - CLT team