100 million people and countless life forms depend on the Hindu Kush Himalayas’ nine million springs.
But these springs are in crisis. Across the region, families are seeing their crucial sources of freshwater run dry. Lack of freshwater poses a huge threat to human health, jobs, and nature in the mountains.
Climate change and human activities are endangering our springs. We can act to revive them—but we must act now.
The good news is that it’s possible to bring springs back.
Driving the disappearance of mountain freshwater sources is climate change, land-use changes – unchecked urbanisation, deforestation, use of concrete, haphazard road construction and loss of traditional ponds – and overextraction of groundwater.
Agriculture is the backbone of mountain livelihoods – and a critical contributor to economies. Without freshwater, crops will fail, livestock cannot survive, life in the thousands of human settlements in the mountains becomes simply unviable. Mountain communities’ lives, jobs and sources of food all rely on us reversing this trend.
Across the Hindu Kush Himalaya, meanwhile, climate change and habitat loss are already driving sharp declines in nature, an issue gravely exacerbated by water scarcity. Spring revival is therefore a crucial step towards slowing accelerating habitat and nature loss as well.
ICIMOD has partnered with communities in Nepal to pioneer locally-led springshed revival techniques for over a decade. At this urgent moment, with the support of local communities and policymakers, and national governments and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, we are now working to roll out tested techniques to renew water sources in four additional countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
Investing in spring revival not only improves water security for local communities, it also supports