A cue from Sikkim
The idea of reviving springs to ensure water availability in dry months is not new. It was first launched in 2008 by the hill state of Sikkim, where about 80 per cent of the households depend on springs for drinking water and irrigation. The initiative, named Dhara Vikas, was implemented by the Rural Management and Development Department and aimed at reviving the catchment areas of 50 Himalayan springs and four lakes in drought-prone areas of the state. These springs were drying up or turning seasonal as population rise, erratic rainfall and developmental activities reduced the sponge action of the land and consequently created a hydrological imbalance. The government claims that at least 400 hectares have been revived under the initiative with a total investment of ` 250 lakh. This has resulted in an annual groundwater recharge of 900 million litres. The spring discharge has improved by 15 per cent, notes an assessment by the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, in 2013.