Towards a better understanding of water resources management in the Hindu Kush Himalayas


Local communities in the middle hills of Nepal depend on spring water for their daily needs as well as for livestock rearing and irrigation. However, they are increasingly facing the risk of water shortage and the drying of springs. To improve understanding of springs and their management in the mid hills of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, a training programme on hydrogeology was held from 2-6 June 2014. The 24 training participants representing different organizations from Bhutan, India, and Nepal received an interactive and practical five-day course provided by the Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) and organized through ICIMOD. Led by Dr Himanshu Kulkarni, founder trustee and executive director of ACWDAM, and his team, the training participants learned more about groundwater and aquifers, geology and soils, and spring water management. They applied their newly gained knowledge in practical exercises as well as during a field visit to Daraune Pokhari, one of the pilot areas of the ICIMOD Springs and Ponds Innovation Project implemented by Nepal Water Conservation Foundation (NWCF) in the middle hills of Nepal. 

Interaction of training participants in the field


Under the pilot project that began about a year ago, ICIMOD and NWCF initiated joint research on the linkages between the springs in the hills, natural storage mechanisms, and water conservation to identify sustainable solutions to local problems. The ongoing action research in Kavre district seeks to improve understanding of the nature of springs and ponds in a typical middle hill environment and to test the effectiveness of simple recharge ponds. 

Data and information on springs in the HKH region are scarce, and the hydrology of springs, their behaviour and recharge are still poorly understood. The training has helped fill this gap by imparting knowledge of springs and by showing how spring water management can complement conventional approaches to water resources management. It has thus addressed a critical need for a more comprehensive understanding of water resources management in the Hindu Kush Himalayas.

A local woman collects water from Daraune Pokhari