Himalayan Springs Stakeholder Dialogue and Meeting Framing a Common Methodology and Approaches for Springshed Management

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Background

Water is a primary life-giving resource, and its availability is an essential component in socioeconomic development and poverty reduction. The Himalayas are the source of countless perennial rivers, but paradoxically substantial number of mountain populations depend largely on spring water for their sustenance. An initial assessment by ACWADAM in Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand found that 80-90% of the population depends on springs. This is also likely true across the Nepal Himalayan region, as there is a huge data gap on springs, spring water use and springs water resources in the Nepal Himalaya region.

Springs play an important role in the daily lives of thousands of communities in the hills and mountains of the Himalayas. However, in many places once reliable springs are drying up, presenting rural communities, and women in particular, with new challenges. In the Himalayan region, natural springs and their sustainable development are not given due importance at both policy and practical levels, even though they play a critical role in water security. To develop solutions to address changes in these traditional sources of water, there are large gaps in data and understanding the must first be filled. There is also a need to raise awareness among relevant policy and decision makers and to develop skills and share knowledge on this critical topic with field practitioners and community members. There is a gap in data on the dependence of mountain populations on springs.

Rationale

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), together with partners in the region, is working to understand drying springs, promote awareness of the importance of groundwater recharge in the productivity of springs, and build capacities to protect and develop springsheds across the Himalayas. In several of ICIMOD’s initiatives (HI-AWARE, WLE, Kailash Initiative), a springshed approach is being piloted in transboundary landscapes and river basins initiatives.

Objective(s) of the workshop

ICIMOD in association with The Mountain Institute and Rural Management and Development (Dhara Vikas Programme) Govt. of Sikkim – India: intends to bring together key stakeholders from the region linked to water resources and springs management;

  1. More visibility and outreach of research on Himalayan springs and management;
  2. Sharing learning’s from springshed development and management (Dhara Vikas Programme) from Sikkim;
  3. Create a common understanding on significance of springs (water quantity and quality) and importance of policy and advocacy;
  4. Agree on common methodology and approaches in conducting future research and data collection;
  5. Finalize plans for implementation of research and policy linkages.

Expected outcomes

  1. Stakeholder dialogue and meeting aims to enhance understanding on springshed development and management and contribute in capacity building of policy makers;
  2. Common understanding of methodology, approaches and data repository;
  3. Finalize concrete action plans and way forward for implementation in all initiatives.