Wetlands in India supply crucial human and animal needs such as drinking water, protein production, fodder, water purification, wildlife habitat, and flood storage. Increased appreciation of uses and threats is essential to protect wetlands where justified. Three quarters of India's population is rural, it places great demands on India's wetlands and losses continue to occur. This paper is based on extensive discussions with natural resource managers, government employees, farmers, academicians, and resource users at dozens of sites in India, as well as an extensive literature search. Twelve important kinds of wetland loss are identified and mechanisms believed to be causing them discussed: (1) agricultural conversion, (2) direct deforestation, (3) hydrologie alteration, (4) inundation, (5) defoliation, (6) altered upper watersheds, (7) accumulative water demands, (8) water quality degradation, (9) wetland consolidation, (10) global climate change, (11) ground-water depletion, (12) exotic species and biodiversity. Wetland understanding, management, and Public awareness in India must continue growing if wetland resources are to remain functional.