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Kanwar Lake | Oxbow Lake

  • Context (DTE): Kanwar Lake has shrunk over the years due to reduced water levels.

About Kanwar Lake

  • It is known as Kabartal locally and is located in Bihar’s Begusarai district.
  • It is a residual oxbow lake & Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake.
  • It is formed due to the meandering of the Burhi Gandak River, a tributary of Ganga.
  • It is a rainfed lake, according to waterbody experts and fills up during the monsoon season.
  • It is the first and only wetland in Bihar of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • In 1986, it was declared a protected area by the state government. Later, it was designated as a sanctuary by the central government to prevent bird poaching.
  • Challenges faced by Kanwar Lake: Increasing silt accumulation, deforestation, and land disputes.

Oxbow lakes

  • It is a curved or U-shaped lake that was originally a bend in a river but became separated when the river took a new, straighter course
  • They usually form in flat, low-lying plains close to where the river empties into another body of water.
  • Oxbow lakes are Stillwater lakes. This means that water does not flow into or out of them.

Oxbow lake formation - PMF IAS

Credit: Geography all the way


  • A meander is when water flows in a curvy, bendy path, like a snake.
  • Meanders are formed in the middle course of a river.
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