DAINIK NATION BUREAU
NITI Aayog has alerted the government that Himalayan states will soon face an acute water shortage as more than half of the perennial springs have “already dried up or have become seasonal”. To save millions living in the region, it has asked the Centre to implement a “spring-shed management” scheme.
The Aayog in its report, “Inventory and revival of springs in Himalayas for water security”, said: “More than half of the perennial springs have already dried up or have become seasonal and tens of thousands of villages are facing an acute water shortage for drinking and domestic purposes.”
Calling for a graded approach, the report suggests “short-term (four years), medium-term (four-eight years) and long-term (more than eight years) plans”, aimed at actively monitoring spring water levels in depleted regions and “carrying out of spring-shed management” schemes.
Of the five million springs in the country, close to three million are located in the Himalayan region. There are 50 million people living in that region, many of whom rely on spring water for their daily drinking water needs.
The report said 60 per cent of low-discharge springs that provide water to small habitations in the Himalayan region have seen a clear decline during the past couple of decades. Sikkim has seen the most alarming drop in collection of spring water, and Uttarakhand the sharpest decline with the Almora region seeing a fall from 360 functional springs to just 60 in the past 150 years, it said.