Aurangabad and Ahamadnagar Districts in the past were facing continuous scarcity of water. To overcome this situation, the then British Government had formulated a scheme called Godavari Canal System by constructing dams across the river Darna at Nandgaon and at the confluence of rivers Godavari and Kadva at Nandur Madhameshwar in the years 1907-1913.
The lot of silt and organic matter is carried by the water flow and the same is deposited in the Nandur Madhameshwar reservoir and surrounding areas which are mainly agricultural lands. The repeated deposition of silt and organic matter annually resulted into formation of the islands and many shallow water ponds. It has resulted in enriching biological conditions and stabilizing the vegetation and fauna. The man made reservoir thus turned into a wetland habitat, attracting thousands of winged visitors every winter.
Dr.Salim Ali during his visit to Nandur Madhameshwar had stated that the site was known to him since 1941 and he opined that, this wetland has the potential of becoming “Bharatpur” of Maharashtra.
The survey of this wetland was done by World Wildlife Fund for Nature & Bombay Natural History Society in the year 1975. The real focus on the area and demand for its protection started when the nature lovers raised voice through the news paper for stopping the poaching of birds in the year 1982.83. In response to the demand of nature lovers and after assessing the ecological importance of the area, Government of Maharashtra declared this as closed area in the year 1983 and subsequently was declared as sanctuary as per provision of section 18 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 in the year 1986 as per the notification dated 25.02.1986. Nandur Madhameshwar sanctuary includes 11 villages of Niphad Taluka of Nashik District namely (1) Nadur Madhameshwar (2) Kurudgaon (3) Chapadgaon (4) Khangaon-Thadi (5) Dindori (6) Khathargaon (7) Karanjgaon (8) Kothure (9) Pimplas (10) Manjargaon (11) Shivare having total area of 10012.73 ha. In 1994 government has appointed Sub Divisional Officer (Niphad) as enquiry officer under Section 26 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 to exercise power or the functions to be performed by Collector under section 19 to 25 (both inclusive) of the said act. Accordingly enquiry officer has recommended 1176.457 ha to be included in final notification of the sanctuary. These include 971.39 ha. area of Irrigation Department, 150.00 ha. area of Revenue Department and 55.067 ha. area of Forest Department.
The topography of the sanctuary is fairly level. Minimum elevation above sea level is 512.50 meters whereas maximum elevation above sea level is 536 meters.
As per Köppen-Gieger Climate Classification System, the climate of sanctuary is Sub-tropical Steppe (BSh) type. The average temperature is 25.3 oC and about 514 mm of precipitation falls annually.
Nandur Madhameshwar wetland is formed by the water of pick up weir. Masonry pick-up weir is constructed in the past just below the confluence of river Kadwa & Godavari. The water stored in the reservoir is released through canals for irrigation purposes to far off places. Over the last 75 years considerable amount of siltation which has taken place altering to the appearance of the original river course. The difference of height above the weir & down is striking.The original nature of riverbed is clearly visible below the weir.
This wetland is basically formed because of deposition of silts. The numerous tiny islands have been formed in addition to the permanent island near Manjargaon. A number of shallow water stretches have also been formed along the riverbanks. The main river course of kadwa and Godavari is deep. The shallow water pools are rich in algae. Partly submerged area has a thick growth of aquatic vegetation. The marsh is largely covered by good growth of reeds. The water Hyacinth has made considerable invasion. Parthenium growth is also increasing. Shinde (1986) listed 536 species of plants , notables are Ipomea fitulosa,Ipomea aquatica, Hydrophila auriculata ,Phylanodiflora, Polygonum glabrum, Rumex detatus, Hydrilla verticillata, Elchornia species, Typha species, Pontamogeton species, Paspslidum species. Tree species are Ficus, Mango, Tamarind, Neem, Acacias etc.
Nandur Madhameshwar wetland is biologically rich and it is the habitat for diverse variety of flora and fauna. Migration season of birds is October- Nov. to Feb-March each year. During this season the area attracts lots of migratory birds coming from far off places. The major migratory species are Ducks, Storks, Ibises, Cranes, Flamingos and Weaders. In the migration season the scene at Nandur Madhameshwar is amazing, as one can observe large flocks of various species of birds together.
The terrestrial animals like black naper Hare, Jackle, Civet cat, Jungle cat, Mongoose and many species of Snakes have been seen often by the people. There are occasional sightings of Wolf, Mangoose, Lizards, and Leopard etc. in the wetland area of Nandur Madhameshwar.
Prior to the construction of the Nandur Madhameshwer weir this region was quite dry. But due to construction of the pickup weir, irrigation to the adjoining cultivation is assured. This has helped to bring areas under irrigation thereby changing the economy of the region. Fishing is another major economical activity that has resulted because of formation of reservoir. Another activity that has enriched the local economy is Galpera or the seasonal cropping carried out on the reservoir bed as the water recedes. Thus, one can see that the Nandur Madhameshwer wetland has major economic significance in this region.
The Nandur Madhameshwer reservoir has a great recreational & aesthetic value. The scenic beauty of landscape particularly at sunrise & sunset is unique. The flocks of thousands of migratory & local birds during the peak season i.e. in between October & March make a fascinating sight .The entire reservoir gets covered with colorful avian fauna in this period. Even walking along the lake side is enjoyable.
This wetland is a complex ecosystem with interlinkages with other wetlands in the proximity. The main water course of river Godavari & Kadwa, the small islands, shallow water pond, adjoining cultivated fields and Towns forms a unique complex chain of wetland. Therefore there is a scope for research on topics like floristic studies, soil studies, habitat assessment and improvement, invasive species and their effects, ecotourism and people participation etc.
The scope for conservation, education & awareness through the NMS is tremendous. The conservation biology of different resident birds, the migratory patterns, the habit & habitat of diverse species inhabiting the reservoir, the special ecological niches and interlinkages between the various components of the ecosystem are source of many aspects of ecological studies.
There are religious temples around Nandur Madhameshwer reservoir such as Madhameshwara just below the dam, Siddeshwer at Karanjgaon, Sangameshwer & Nawsya Ganpati at Khangaon Thadi, Mrugwadeshwer at Nandur Madhameshwer. Piligrims & tourist are visiting these Temples every year.
WHEN TO COME
The best time to visit NMWLS is migration period i.e. from October to March. During this time thousands of winged visitors come here. Between April and September you can see some resident birds here.
WHAT TO BRING
Binocular, Bird Field Guide and necessary clothing are necessary to enhance your experience of bird watching here.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Being amateur or seasoned nature lover, you can expect migratory birds sighting both number wise and species wise at NMWLS. A nature trail at Chapdgaon gives you exposure to Wetland Habitat and its importance as bird habitat whereas a trail at Dindori Taas gives of glimpse of magnificent Peacocks. From different Watch Towers, Bird Galleries and Bird Blind you can see flocks of migratory birds and a wetland which host this avifaunal diversity. A walk on Pickup Weir, you will get breeze coming from confluence of the River Godavari and River Kadva and also picturesque view of Madhameshwara and Sangmeshwara Temples.