IMI-Paper: The Himalayan water resources in the form of glaciers, rivers, lakes, springs and streams are under increasing threat from environmental and land use change. The problem of drinking water scarcity is being felt across the Himalayan region due to climate change impacts on precipitation patterns such as rise in rainfall intensity, reduction in its temporal spread, and a marked decline in winter rain, coupled with other anthropogenic causes.
This paper details how the Rural Management and Development Department, Government of Sikkim has responded to the water crisis and initiated the revival of critical springs, streams and lakes through its Dhara Vikas programme. The interventions focused on enhancing artificial ground water recharge, undertaking vulnerability assessments, developing village spring atlas, building capacities in geo-hydrology, and sharing the lessons learnt.
The future plans include developing appropriate institutional arrangements for upspring-downspring water user groups, building scientific capacities at community level, standardization of spring-shed development technologies, and reducing construction costs of storage tanks. The challenges lie in dissemination and acceptance of these new technologies, building on existing cultural and religious beliefs, ensuring effective people’s participation and sourcing public financing for these new initiatives. Further studies are needed on the hydrology of springs and streams and understanding their linkages with user communities to determine water availability status.
The impacts of this programme are quite promising and have the potential to be up-scaled and mainstreamed in ongoing watershed, water supply, afforestation and climate change adaptation interventions in the Himalayan region.
Authors: Sandeep Tambe*, Ghanashyam Kharel*, and M.L. Arrawatia+
Affiliation: Department of Rural Management and Development, Government of Sikkim, Gram Vikas Bhawan, Gangtok – 737101, Sikkim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
+Chairman, Sikkim Public Service Commission, Government of Sikkim
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>