Springshed Management Programme, Uttarakhand
For the people of Uttarakhand, springs constitute the lifeline of the region, supplying water for consumption and agriculture. However, climate change has impacted these catchments and reduced the discharge from these springs.
Under the Tata Water Mission, the Tata Trusts have implemented springshed management in the region of Uttarakhand through their Himmotthan Pariyojana initiative. The Trusts identified the sources of springs, studied their history and diagnosed the issues impacting their discharge. By adopting comprehensive scientific methods such as hydrogeology and quality assessment of water, the Trusts have been successful in implementing spring-fed, gravity flow WASH programmes in the region, benefitting more than 40,000 people. With the active participation of local communities, more than 300 villages in the Pithoragarh district have been included under the springshed management project. The construction of loose boulder check dams has helped minimise water and soil runoff and landslides.
The efforts have resulted in a marked improvement in groundwater recharge, the discharge rate of recharge ponds and pits, and a reduction in the average drinking water consumption in litres per capita per day (LPCD). Women who used to spend five to six hours in fetching water now have only to wait for a few minutes. With communities at the forefront of these initiatives, the Trusts are creating a cadre of para-hydrogeologists, or 'water champions', who are being trained under a capacity building programme. Over 145 springs have been augmented, and over 200 gravity flow water schemes and 7,000 sanitation units have been created as part of the WASH programme in the region.
The current projects undertaken by Himmotthan and its implementation partners cover 18 villages in the Tehri district, comprising the Chamba and Jaunpur blocks, 16 villages in Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts under the Tata Uttarakhand Programme, and 312 villages of the Gangolihat block of Pithoragarh under the Block Open Defecation Free project.