Kohima, June 05, 2021: 11,857 households in 95 villages of Nagaland, covering 23 blocks across 11 districts, today are all-weather water sufficient. It has become possible by rejuvenating 105 springs in 95 villages. This is the outcome of a Springshed Management project by a consortium of partners, comprising Rural Development and Land Resource Department, Government of Nagaland, Tata Trusts and the North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA).
In Nagaland, mountain springs are the lifeline and the primary source of water for domestic and agriculture purposes. In recent years, demand and need for water, for drinking and agricultural purposes, has increased. Despite receiving abundant rainfall, it is observed there is depletion in groundwater and mountain aquifers in the region.
In 2018, the consortium of partners took up the springshed management project on a pilot basis in the state of Nagaland, focussing specifically on Springshed rejuvenation to provide drinking water security in 100 villages in rural areas of Nagaland. The overall project goal is to develop a state wide springshed development programme to achieve sustainable water security and enhance resilience of vulnerable mountain communities to climate change. The project also aims to build up expertise in the state of Nagaland on a scalable, scientific and participatory approach to spring revival.
NEIDA, an initiative of Tata Trusts, supports in enhancing the capacity of para hydro-geologies of LRD in collaboration with Peoples Science Institute, Dehradun and ACWADAM, Pune and coordination amongst stakeholders; whereas the LRD, GoN, allocates Human Resources, develops detailed technical reports (DTR) & supervises the project implementation. Rural Development department, GoN provides the implementation cost in the form of MNREGA labour days for treating springsheds and facilitates and supervises implementation.
The project also provides an innovative model of Public Private Partnership where the resources from existing government programmes are leveraged with non-government funding partners joining hands to provide solutions to rural communities.
Case Study: Enhulumi Village, Phek District
Enhulumi village with about 230 households is perched on a hilltop and falls under Phek District of Nagaland. The village is highly dependent on 7 springs for drinking water and domestic needs. During a PRA exercise, it was found that the spring in the village has been drying up in the last 10-15 years and the community faces acute water shortage particularly during the lean seasons from December – April or until monsoon arrival. Therefore, the village was selected as one of the pilot villages.
Mewi Dzukhou (spring) was selected for rejuvenation under the project through a participatory approach. The spring is located at latitude N 25˚34'59.9"and longitude E 094˚22'03.2" with an elevation of about 1500 m above mean sea level. The spring water is collected in a dug-out spring box which has a storage capacity of about 3000 litres which provides sufficient water to about 100 households in the village during monsoon. During lean seasons, however, the households depend on other springs in the village for their domestic water requirements.
After the signing of agreement between the stakeholders and the Village Council, Para-hydrogeologists from the Land Resource department trained the community representatives on the significance of springshed management, demarcation of recharge area and the effects of sanitation on water quality. Guided by the para-hydrogeologists, activities such as measuring of slope, contour line mapping and construction of Staggered and contour Trenches were undertaken. The rejuvenation works were implemented in June 2019 which saw participation of 143 villagers. Cost of labour for earthen works and spring box construction was borne through the wage component of MGNREGA from RD Dept. The community had also contributed free labour in cleaning up the spring box and footpath leading to the spring.
The water demand and supply assessment of Mewi spring based on spring discharge data in March 2019 indicated a large gap resulting in water shortages which was far below the 55 LPCD water requirements as per the NRDWP guidelines. The spring discharge measured was 0.83 Litre per minute (LPM) supplying 1,195 litres per day (LPD) which is only 4% of the water demand (27,500 lit are required for 500 populace taking an average of 5 people per household). The springshed treatment measures were undertaken in June 2019 at the recharge zones of Mewi spring. Post the Springshed treatment, the discharge measurement recorded in March 15, 2020 was 1.53 LPM resulting in 2,203 LPD showing increase in water flow by 70% and in March 15, 2021 increased to 2.41 LPM supplying 3,470 LPD which is an increase of 158% over the pre-treatment of the spring. The highest spring discharge measured was on October, 2020 with 19.35 LPM providing 27,864 LPD which supplied more than requirement of 27,500 litres for 500 people.
Mr. Wekhrolo Lohe, the data collector in Ehulumi village reported manifold increase in spring discharge and that the surplus water is used for agricultural purposes. The Village Council Chairman expressed his wish that the overflowing spring water be connected through pipelines to the village that would provide access to potable drinking water for more than 100 households. He also shared that the community had resolved to conserve and protect the recharge zones of the springs from all developmental and farming activities. The community led by the Village Council are managing the operation and maintenance of the spring and carries out regular de-siltation of the trenches.
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