Although labeled as the “Water towers of Asia”, the Himalayas are facing a severe water crisis. Various studies have shown that springs and streams are drying across the hills and that both irregularity in rainfalls and changing land use patterns are the principal factors contributing towards this issue.
Our work, therefore, focuses on spring recharge. ACWADAM, a technical support organization with expertise on groundwater recharge, has helped us to better understand the relationship of geology and groundwater. The process involves identification of the underlying aquifer and selection of the treatable catchment areas. Hydro-geological maps of the catchment areas are prepared and recharge and discharge zones are identified. In the recharge zone, water conservation measures are undertaken whereas in the discharge zone, the focus is on water harvesting structures.
The program is aimed at working on recharge of selected springs in Kumaun both within Chirag’s areas (80 springs) and other NGO’s areas (120 springs), for a total of 200 springs. Between 2008 and 2011, Chirag treated 46 springs in 34 Gram Panchayats. Out of these 46 springs, 25 have been classified as Fracture Springs, 11 as Contact and 10 as Karst Springs. The data we collected on those springs concerning the discharge rate (litre per minute), rainfall in the catchment area, evaporation rate, potability of water and other indicators show that at least 8 of the springs encountered positive results within that time span. If you want to learn more about this phase of the project, please refer to the Spring Recharge report.
The second phase of the program started in 2013. The present project works on a detailed study and treatment for recharge of a total of 70 springs. We expect to reach 1,622 households across 54 villages. The project will also contribute towards setting up of institutions and institutional processes with women as key stakeholders and decision makers in planning and management of the 8 representative aquifers and 70 targeted springs.