A cue from Sikkim

Down to Earth - - CONSERVATION -

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.

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