Inaugurating the 12th World Lakes Conference 'TAAL 2007' here, Patil said great efforts have gone into the rehabilitation of some lakes all over the world and improving their water quality.
"This opens up possibilities of working out arrangements of "Twinning Lakes" - where a partnership could be formed between a lake in a developed country with a lake in a developing country. The developed country involved in this partnership while sharing its experiences, should commit to make available finances and technology for the conservation of the Lake in the developing country," she said.
Patil saud that it was a matter of great concern that in the wake of urbanization and industrialization, water bodies have degraded to a great extent. Encroachments up to the lakeshore, disposal of solid wastes, and discharge of domestic and industrial wastes have grown enormously, she added.
Pointing out that the situation is not unique to India or this part of the world, but it is omnipresent, the President said that global warming and climate change posed a major threat to the future of lakes and wetlands worldwide.
"The recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggest that global warming will have significant impacts on freshwater resources and inland aquatic ecosystems. The increased variability in precipitation and rising temperatures will melt away glaciers, initially increasing the runoff in the river but followed by the drying up of rivers," she said.
She went on to say that we should consider measures to counter the impact of climate change as a major component of any integrated management plan particularly for fresh water resources. Patil further said that India has a large number and huge variance of lakes. Many of them were unique ecosystems and valuable from historical, cultural, biological and functional point of view.
Calling lakes the most beautiful and expressive feature of the landscape, which is often described as the "eye of the Earth," Patil said: "Unfortunately, today many of our lakes have been blinded and polluted on account of over-exploitation and reckless dumping of human and industrial waste."
"Unless remedial measures are taken, we would be guilty of depriving future generations of the beauty, the grandeur and the bountiful benefits of nature," she said, adding that people's participation is the key to success for preserving lakes in a sustainable manner.
Patil said that India's efforts in restoring several lakes have been recognized globally, and recalled that the Ramsar Conservation Award was given to India for the hydrological restoration of Lake Chilka in West Bengal.