Launch of the Resource Book on Springshed Management in the Indian Himalayan Region by NITI Aayog

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What is the News?

Niti Aayog has released a Resource Book on Springshed Management in the Indian Himalayan Region(IHR). This Resource Book is a summarised guiding document on best practices in springshed management in the IHR. 

What are Springs?
Source: NITI Aayog

Springs are groundwater discharge points in the mountains where the water-bearing layers (aquifer) intersect with the ground surface and water seeps out of rock pores, fissures, fractures, or depressions. 

Importance of Springs: Springs are the primary water source for millions of people in the mid-hills of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) and supply over 90% of water needs for domestic uses. 

Concerns

Over the past decade or so, there has been increasing concern that springs are drying up or becoming seasonal, and their discharge is reducing over the years, even though quantitative evidence is still relatively sparse. 

The seasonal and overall decline in springs has affected both domestic water availability in remote villages as well as agricultural productivity.

However, in recent decades, spring revival efforts using the principles of hydrogeology have become a widely accepted model of springshed management (SM) by several civil society organisations (CSOs) and governmental agencies in the Himalayas.

What are the recommendations given by the report based on best practices?

Formation of National Springs Mission(NSM): A National Mission will facilitate improved coordination, efficient execution and scaling up of springshed management initiatives in India. It can also consolidate and converge the learnings and experiences under one umbrella and help develop national or regional-level decision support systems.

Create a national digital database on spring-related data collected by various agencies. This will improve ease of access and academic research. In addition, the data can be integrated into an online portal and facilitate open access sharing for all stakeholders, including the local communities.

Create support for existing, state and national-level science-policy-practice consortiums. This will facilitate experience sharing, complementary knowledge generation, transfer, and capacity building of all stakeholders.

Source: This post is based on the article Launch of the Resource Book on Springshed Management in the Indian Himalayan Region by NITI Aayogpublished in PIB on 7th December 2021.

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