In order to give an accurate definition of a lake, there is no such existence of any. Even a scientific way to define a lake fails. Lake can be described in the most practical and evident sense as a waterbody which is a localized water resource. The lakes are surrounded by land. The lake gets its water supply from the drainage of the river. Lakes are not any part of the ocean while it forms a major part of the earth’s water cycle, just like the huge oceans.
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Students must not confuse the lake and the lagoons. Lagoons are part of coastal areas in the ocean, lakes are totally distinct from this. Also, a lake and a pond vary, lakes are generally larger and deeper than the former. Lakes are different from a river or a stream, as rivers and streams keep on flowing while the lake water is stagnant.
Importance of Lakes
Before knowing the importance of the lakes, we must detail out the knowledge of how the lakes are formed?
Lakes are generally formed as a consequence of the tectonic or glacial activity in a typical region. Lakes are also formed due to the meandering river or even by human activity.
Lakes are quite important for civilization, there are abundant reasons to point them out, this owes to the reason as lakes are a resource of water, and water is a definite source to continue life on this planet earth. Well, we will point out the importance of lakes. Also, provided below are some famous lakes which equally get their importance.
In order to regulate the flow of river water
For the purpose of storing water during the dry seasons
To maintain and balance the ecosystem
To generate hydroelectric power.
While in India there are different types of lakes - freshwater lakes and saltwater lakes.
The famous Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir is the largest freshwater lake in India.
While, other freshwater lakes are - the Dal in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bhimtal Lake, and the Nainital Lake located in Uttarakhand. Lake Kolleru is also located in Andhra Pradesh. This lake Kolleru is officially classified as a wildlife sanctuary hence this lake serves as an entertainment source.
Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan is one of the largest salt lakes which produces salt. Thus, this makes Rajasthan the third largest salt producer in the country. The brackish water is a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. The Chilika Lake situated in Orissa is the largest brackish water lake in India.
Rivers are used for the purpose of irrigation. We depend largely on rivers for fresh drinking water. River water is also used to generate hydroelectric power. Thus, we see the river water is excessively used. This is affecting the water quality of these rivers. Government actions and policies are launched to treat the river water, hence to overcome this, local people can use the lake water as a substitute for river water which more or less functions the same. Lake water too is served with fresh water. This too can be a source of irrigation and also be a source of hydroelectricity power.
Uses of Lakes
The uses of lakes are mentioned as below:
Helps in Carrying Loads:
Lakes do provide a great means to transport heavy carrier goods. Large lakes like the Great Lakes located in North America provide a very cheap and convenient way to transport heavy and bulky goods like iron, coal, machinery, grains, and timber.
Lakes are the Pathway to Economic and Industrial Development:
Previously human settlement took place where there was the presence of lakes, town sites are also very much influenced by the presence of lakes. People moved to the places nearby the lakes in order to get water, thereby civilization started and thus, this led to economic and industrial growth in that particular area. Lakes are an even more decisive factor when they are supplemented by large fertile rivers.
Lakes either natural or artificial in origin provide vital sources for the domestic water supply. They supply the water to the towns and industrial cities. For example, in Britain the Lake of Thirlmere supplies water to Manchester, Loch Katrine supplies water to Glasgow, Lake Vyrnwy located in Wales supplies water to Liverpool. In India, the Okhla Reservoir supplies water to Delhi. While, Veteran, Vihar, and Tulsi lakes supply water to Bombay.
Hydro-Electric Power Generation:
In the mountainous districts, the lakes or the man-made reservoirs furnish water to generate hydroelectric power in that area. In this case, natural lakes are preferred to artificial reservoirs.
The Niagara River flowing from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario has a regular supply of this water which helps the power stations to run.
Advantages of Lakes and Rivers
Rivers and lakes contribute a great value to human beings, as they provide us with our life source that is water. For this, the advantages which are benefited from rivers and lakes cannot be merely numbered. Lakes and rivers help to:
Develop hydroelectric power.
They provide water supply for the purpose of irrigation.
Provide fresh water for drinking.
Industries and factories use river and lake water for their functioning.
Supply water for irrigation in agricultural fields.
Help to develop the fisheries.
They enhance the natural beauty of the environment, thus helping to develop tourism and provide recreation facilities.
Proper lake functioning can ease the impact of floods and droughts in a particular area by storing large amounts of water in flood time and releasing it during shortages in drought.