Chilika Development Authority (CDA)

In 1992, the Government of Odisha, concerned by the degradation of the lake's ecosystem and cognizant of significant numbers of people who were dependent upon the lake's resources, set up the Chilika Development Authority (CDA). The CDA was set up for restoration and overall development of the lake under the Indian Societies Registration Act as a parastatal body under the administrative jurisdiction of the Forest and Environment Department, with the following charter:

  • To protect the Lake ecosystem with all its genetic diversity
  • To formulate the management plan for Integrated Resource Management and wise use of the lake's resources by the community depending on it
  • To execute multidimensional and multidisciplinary developmental activities either itself or through other agencies
  • To collaborate with various national and international institutions for the development of the lake

The governing body of the Authority is headed by the Chief Minister of Odisha State and has people's representatives (Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly), representatives of the fisherfolk communities, and secretaries of the key departments, experts, and eminent scientists as its members.

In 1998, an executive committee constituted with financial authority, supplemented with financial support from the Tenth and Eleventh Finance Commissions of the Government of India, gave support to the management initiatives taken up by CDA.

This facilitated a coordinated approach to plan and implement effective ameliorative management actions. An Integrated Management Plan was implemented with the financial support of Rs 570 million (US$12.7 million) out of "special problem grants" recommended by the Finance Commissions. Hydrobiological monitoring was supported under the Odisha Water Resources Consolidation Project of the World Bank, to the extent of Rs 10 million (US$220,000).

A strong support network was created with 7 state government organizations, 33 NGOs, 3 national government ministries, 6 other organizations, 11 international organizations, 13 research institutions and 55 different categories of community groups. In 2003, a collaboration of Indian and Japanese experts led to a friendly relationship between Chilika lake and Saroma Lake in Japan called Sister Wetlands.