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Springshed management as a nature-based solution for water security and climate adaptation in Bangladesh




Rangamati, Bangladesh

Date & Time

25 September 2023 to 28 September 2023


Bandana Shakya & Sanjeev Bhuchar

Organisers: Ministry of Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs, Bangladesh; ICIMOD; IUCN Bangladesh and UNDP Bangladesh


About the training

The four-day training is intended to strengthen the conceptual and technical capacity of the technical staff of relevant government departments on springshed management in Bangladesh to co-design and co-implement the six-step protocol for spring revival and springshed management. The six-step protocol will be improvised by embedding the design criteria for nature-based solutions (IUCN criteria) and GESI responsiveness.

This event is supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)-funded Himalayan Resilience Enabling Action Programme (HI-REAP) under the Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA) programme.



The training comprises both interactive classroom sessions and hands-on field sessions. Specific objectives include:

  • Foster awareness and shared understanding of the six-step protocol for reviving springs through theoretical and practical exercises and community-based success stories
  • Build awareness on the potential of spring revival as NbS and how embedding NbS design criteria can strengthen springshed management outcomes
  • Provide support to develop tentative plans for springshed management in the three districts in Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) and work out partnership engagement strategy with UNDP, IUCN and other institutions engaged in CHT


Expected outputs

  • Clarity, awareness, and shared understanding on GESI responsive springshed management as a nature-based solution to address the growing issue of spring depletion and consequent water insecurity across CHT, Bangladesh
  • Identification of existing enablers and barriers at regional, district and sub-district levels for ground level implementation of springshed management in CHT
  • Plans for the three CHT districts indicating the way forward actions and resources needed to implement springshed management
  • Suggestions on institutional and intersectoral coordination



Springs are the social, economic, cultural, and ecological pillars of sustainable mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). They are vital sources of freshwater, particularly in mountain regions and play an important role in sustaining ecosystems and livelihoods. Springs are a part of the groundwater system, and there is an urgent need to advance a deeper understanding of the science of hydrogeology that governs the occurrence and movement of water in underground aquifers in the mountains. These critical hydrological systems are vulnerable to climate change impacts, land degradation, and haphazard infrastructure development. The degradation and drying of springs means increased water insecurity and decreased adaptive capacity and resilience of rural and urban communities and the biodiversity that they depend on for their lives and livelihoods.

Spring revival and springshed management are therefore vital to ensure present and future water security in the HKH. Springshed management is a holistic approach to addressing water insecurity which emphasises the preservation of upstream forests and wetlands, and sustainable land-use practices to protect spring sources and enhance water retention. This approach, while promoting water security, fosters ecosystem restoration, and climate adaptation, including inclusive governance and wider community and stakeholder engagement.

In Bangladesh, ICIMOD, in collaboration with MOCHTA, plans to initiate inclusive springshed management in the three districts of Chattogram Hill Tracts in 2023. In a recent stakeholder consultation, we built consensus regarding the crucial challenge presented by water insecurity across all districts. The critical importance of scaling springshed management was also acknowledged. It was evident that there is a shared understanding of springshed management, as a concept and potential NbS, among key government agencies, private sectors, and local leaders. At the consultation, speakers highlighted the need to strengthen the technical capacity of decision makers and technical officers to effectively scale springshed management. This hands-on training is designed to meet the need of strengthening the capability of the practitioners to design, implement, and scale springshed management.