With the aim to raise the importance of springshed management and bring visibility and outreach on spring and ground water management, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Springs Initiative India held meetings in New Delhi on 10 July 2015.
The meeting was attended by officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), and Department of Land Resource (DoLR), Government of India.
The two ministries recognized spring protection using the spring hydrogeology concepts, and its importance in forest management and watershed management programmes. As a follow up and way forward, MoEFCC suggested to look into the National Working Plan code and look into the possibilities of dovetailing springs hydrogeology under working plan Chapter 1 (Part 1) dealing with geology, rocks, and soil as well as in the water resource management prescription (Chapter 2).
Springs Initiative and ICIMOD were asked to develop a strategy to engage front line staff to understand hydrogeology and recharge areas and ways to implement springshed approaches at the field level. Similarly, MoRD suggested to share a list of areas and districts where applied research on spring hydrogeology has been tested involving local communities. Learning from these pilot sites could help DoLR to consider integration of hydrogeological parameters in watershed management.
The MoRD Joint Secretary also expressed interest to visit the pilot sites in Uttarakhand and observe springshed conservation work in the field. Since there is a data gap on springs in the Himalayan context, ICIMOD and Springs Initiative have agreed to work with partners in the region. This should give an opportunity to promote awareness on importance of springs, and build capacities to protect and develop springsheds across the Himalayas.