Lunghar: The Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Manipur in collaboration with Advance Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) and International centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) conducted a program under the theme “Springshed Management” in the Himalayas: Manipur State, Ensuring water security and enhancing climate resilience from November 10 to 17 at Lunghar village, Ukhrul.
Dr Brajakumar, Jt Director of Forest environment and climate change, along with his team comprising of Executive Director and Secretary ACWADAM, Dr Himashu Kulkarni, Mr Md Imran Siddique, Scientist ACWADAM, Simran Sumbre, Social Scientist ACWADAM, Dr Ghanashyam Kharel, SDC, Madhav Dhakal, ICIMOD will be stationed in Lunghar village for a week to conduct mapping of vulnerable springs and impact assessment caused by climate change in the area.
According to Dr Brajakumar, the department after conducting in-depth research on its geological and hydro-geological profiles analysis of the catchment areas of the state in collaboration with ICIMOD, ACWADAM, PSI, ITI Roorkee including line department supported by Switzerland Development Corporation, chose Lunghar village’s pilot project for the state’s Spring water rejuvenation programme because of its potential and criticality points.
“Phangrei mountain range of Lunghar village reserves water naturally and it is the main source of spring water supplied as drinking water to the whole of Ukhrul District headquarters from the Shirui mountain ranges. This was a reason for giving greater emphasis on selecting Lunghar village for this pilot project,” added Dr Brajakumar.
In his introduction of springs and springshed management, Dr Himanshu Kulkarni said that he has researched and worked on this topic for the last 40 years. He believes that water is the source of life, and gave a short presentation on the work of ACWADAM about their work on water underneath the ground which nobody sees.
All the works are based on partnerships and collaboration with other organizations, with the government and especially with the community. The scores of partnership forged are to address the revival of some 10,000 springs across the region.
He added that springs are the sources of rivers and according to research, 60% of the springs are actually showing depletion, especially in the mountains. They are trying to demystify the science of off-springs which would be ruled out with the help of the community, with the help of people in villages.
He calls the spring rejuvenation a multi faceted trans- disciplinary partnership module. “Through this model, set in a variety of locations through different funding systems, some funded by the states, some funded by donors, some done completely voluntarily, we have on the whole touched about 10,000 streams. There has been an attempt to revive 10,000 streams with various degrees of success and also various degrees of impacts,” he added.
Giving examples about impacts he mentions that in Himachal Pradesh, they provided technical support to People Science Institute (PSI). Just a year after the program was implemented they saw very interesting drastic impacts.
The quality of spring improved as the community decided that there are certain areas they need to protect and ensure to keep certain areas clean, and free from open defecation. The second impact was improved recharge. The spring discharge improved by 20,000 cubic meters per year. Thirdly, because of an assurance of spring water supply, there was a net benefit of 30,000 cubic meters per year from just two to three springs.
In Sikkim, the cost of the program was implemented on the back of MGNREGS program from the state government. Due to the very simplistic impact assessment, one paise was the investment made in one litre of recharge. For 100 litres of extra water, it is chiefly a one rupee investment.
These are some impacts that are important from the social and economic angle and most importantly from the environmental angle to revive springs, and actually rejuvenate reverse and begin to look at a very healthy ecosystem, an official said.
After the program, all the teams along with the youth and some villagers headed out to inspect a contact spring called Savangahor near Phangrei. The villagers have identified about 25 springs in their area where a team of experts will continue to inspect, identify, measure and work with the community.