Springshed Management in North Eastern States
The agriculture and horticulture sector in the north eastern region of India is limited by constraints such as poor production technologies, substandard infrastructural facilities, difficult terrains and underdeveloped financial institutions. The situation is exacerbated by climate change.
Climate change in the form of rising temperature, erratic rainfall and rainfall intensity is impacting mountain aquifer systems and springs in the Himalayan region. In Nagaland, there has been evidence of springs drying up or becoming seasonal, leading to acute shortage of water, particularly during the winter months. To reduce the risk of a water crisis in the state, the Tata Trusts are implementing springshed management practices in Nagaland and Tripura.
Springsheds are sources of ground or spring water. The springshed intervention is being implemented through the Tata Trusts’ nodal agency North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA), which works to optimise land use in the hilly region and promote appropriate agricultural and horticultural practices.
A multi-stakeholder consortium comprising of the Nagaland government departments of Land Resources and Rural Development, NEIDA, Tata Trusts, Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) and the People Science Institute (PSI) is working together to regenerate and recharge mountain aquifers for drinking water security. The objective is to enhance rainfall infiltration into the ground thus increasing recharge capabilities of spring aquifers to sustain the local ecosystem.
The spring rejuvenation activities have covered 41 springs in 36 villages across nine districts of the state. Springs were selected after conducting social and technical feasibility studies, including hydrogeological mappings, undertaken by trained para-hydrogeologists from the Land Resource department (LRD). Data collectors were trained in 36 villages to collect data on rainfall, spring discharge and in-situ water quality on a regular basis to assess the performance of the springs. Plantation and civil works in spring recharge areas are nearing completion in all the selected villages.
The second phase of the project will cover 64 villages in 11 districts. The Trusts plan to implement spring rejuvenation activities across all the villages in Nagaland.
Area of Operation: Nagaland and Tripura