People in the Hindu Kush Himalayas face economic and institutional water scarcity in areas where water is plentiful, but inaccessible. The inaccessibility is caused by a lack of rural electrification or irrigation infrastructure in the plains and because springs are increasingly drying up in the Himalayan mid-hills.

With the support from the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) on Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is leading the initiative ‘Reviving springs and providing access to solar powered irrigation pumps through community based water use planning with multiple approaches to solving agricultural water problems in the mid-hills and Terai in India and Nepal’. The goal of this project is to ensure affordable and sustainable access to drinking water in the mid-hills of Nepal and Uttarakhand in India and to agricultural water in Terai region of Nepal. Firstly, the initiative aims to address water insecurity in mid-hills and plains of Nepal and India. This is done by reviving springs in the mid-hills of Nepal and Uttarakhand through improved understanding of localised spring hydrogeology along with appropriate technical interventions  and policy interventions. Secondly, it also aims to test the use of solar powered irrigation pumps (SPIPs) as a clean, climate resilient, and pro-poor solution to tackling issues related to the nexus between water, food, and energy security in the plains of Nepal. The programme will work to ensure that these tested strategies are incorporated into community-led water user master plans (WUMP). Through a consultative process, maps are created for existing water sources and detailed surveys are undertaken to assess the current conditions of springs within a given administrative boundary. After this, the community is asked to prioritise these water sources for further investment. This activity, currently being implemented in Nepal by Helvetas, will be piloted in Uttarakhand, India, for the first time through the programme. The initiative has a strong gender focus, and aims to improve access to drinking water for women tasked with gathering water in the hills. This is done by targeting at least 30% of the SPIPs at women and improving understanding of the policies and institutional frameworks required to support small female farmers in technology adoption.

Geographical coverage:

The project will reach out to two districts from the mid-hills and one district from Terai for Nepal. In mid-hills of Nepal, the districts of Sindhupalchowk and Dailekh will be covered for spring revival. SPIP will be piloted in Saptari district located in the plains of Nepal. Water Use Master Plan and spring revival activities will be extended to the hill state of Uttarakhand in India. 


Start date:  1 Jan 2015
End date:   31 Dec 2016 

Principal Investigator: 

Aditi Mukherji
Theme Leader, Water and Air


Vijay Khadgi
Special Project Coordinator - WLE