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National Mission on Himalayan Studies

Implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
Nodal and Serving hub with G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development

Broad Thematic Area 1: Water Resource Management

Significance of Water Resources in the India Himalayan Region (IHR)

The Himalaya is known as “Water Tower of Asia” as perennial source of fresh water. Hence, it plays a critical role in the major rivers of Asia. The water resources serve some of the highly populated region of the world. However, in the current scenario available water resources are under increasingly severe pressure from climate change and other global drivers. Climate change alters rainfall patterns, soil moisture, humidity, glacier-mass balance and river flow, and also causes changes to underground water sources. At the same time, floods and droughts are rising in frequency, intensity and severity. On the other hand, unprecedented population growth,rapid urbanization, expansion of infrastructure, migration, land conversion and pollution translate into changes in fluxes, pathways and stores of water, and will create further pressures on water resources that will have a tremendous impact on the natural environment. The Indian Himalaya Region (IHR), a part of Himalaya also has huge water resources in its lakes, river and glaciers, however yet under threat. It may also be due to changing rainfall pattern, protracted droughts, fluctuating temperatures, more frequent and severe weather events, including floods, potential for hydropower generation, forest cover degradation and other anthropogenic activities. It outlines the important of planning for management of all the Himalaya’s water resources. Currently under this BTA, the NMHS-PMU has sanctioned following 13 demand driven action research studies such as rejuvenate hills springs and stream, establishing monitoring sites to assess water quality and ecological integrity of water bodies, high-altitude meteorological analysis, developing Decision Support System (DSSs)and water-induces disasters associate with GLOFs and LLOFs to achieve a part of the water resource management in Himalaya region.

IHR States Covered-07: (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur and Tripura)

Overall Objectives

Ground water augmentation – Model development through participatory approach.
Quantification of hydrological processes
Inventory and mapping of 1000 springs and springs fed streams in 4 IHR States: Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh,
Regional climate change scenarios up to year 2100,
Policy recommendation on land use practise and transformation to relate it to water use.
Water resource management practices in selected States of the IHR.
Construction of Koop wells in 5 rural villages of Uttarakhand creating water supply infrastructure including provision of appropriate post-treatment.
Demonstrate the coupling of natural RBF Technology with engineered post-treatment using inline-electrolysis for rural conditions.
Development of cadastral maps for scale of 1:4000 for two cities: Gangtok and Shillong..
Geomorphic characterization and correlation of pilot catchments affected by flash floods and debris flow during last century in Garhwal Himalaya.
Assessment the impacts of seasonal behaviour, HEPs, land use patterns on river integrity;
Development of Decision Support Systems on GIS platform.
Differentiate the geomorphic factors responsible for GLOF and LLOF type gradation process.
Development of low cost water purification systems with added mineralisation.
Capacity and awareness building of stakeholders.

Ongoing Projects: 12(LG 2; MG 4; SG 6)

FY 2015-16
1 Rejuvenation of springs and spring-fed streams in Mid-Himalayan basins using Spring Sanctuary Concept.
2 Dynamics of Himalayan ecosystem and its impact under changing climate scenario.
3 Anthropogenic impacts and their management options in different ecosystems of the Indian Himalayan Region.
4 Geomorphic characterization of flash floods and mass wasting in upper Ganga terrain of Garhwal Himalaya: role of climate - tectonic interaction in gradation processes.
5 Drinking water security for rural areas in Uttarakhand Himalayas by Riverbank Filtration, robust disinfection systems and community participation.
6 Developing Disaster Resilience Action plan through GIS and prioritizing actions for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction in urban agglomerations of Shillong & Gangtok.

7 Integrated System Dynamical model to design and testing alternative intervention strategies for effective remediation & sustainable water management for two selected river basins of Indian Himalaya.

8 Water security through community based springshed development in the IHR.

9 Innovative and sustainable decision support system for drinking water security in the Indian Himalayan region of Sikkim and West Bengal.

10 Rejuvenation of drying springs and Spring-shed development (Dhara-Vikas) through climate change adaptation measures in Chumbung and Duga Blocks of East and West District of Sikkim, and Chibbo-Possyor areas in Kalimpong district of West Bengal.

11 Identification hydropower sites and critical glacial lakes for sustainable water resources management in Himachal Pradesh.

12 Development of low cost accelerated water purification systems with added mineralisation for Himalayan region.

Measurable Targets up to 2020

Initiate a state-wise programme for rejuvenation of Himalayan springs in all 12 IHR States.
Develop inventories of mountain springs in selected 8 States of the IHR.
Local scale watershed planning.
Monitoring of water quality and ecological integrity of selected springs, lakes and rivers.
Database on weather and extreme climatic events from high altitude basins in 4 States
Monitoring and modelling for prediction of water-induced disasters.
Capacity building and training for water resource management.

Monitoring Indicators

No. of springs inventory/ springs revived with respect to each IHR State targeted.
No. of Spring Revival Models developed and implemented.
No. of System Dynamics Models tested/ customized for the Himalayan watersheds.
No of DSS developed coupled with GIS.
No. of Stakeholders benefitted.
No. of new Database/ Datasets generated on the water quality and quantity (Nos.).
No. of Policy Guidelines and Legislative Mechanisms: Prepared and/ or Communicated.
Publication and/ or Knowledge Products developed on the best practices of water resource Management.


Spring inventory of 1000 springs;
Treatment of Springsheds and streams (16 no);
Development and Implementation of 6 springs revival models;
Development of total 3 DSSs for efficient water allocation strategies in Uttrakhand, water supply system in south Sikkim and Darjeeling at GIS Platform and effective remediation & sustainable water management coupled with System Dynamic Model (SDM) and GIS;
Capacity building of 125 marginal farmers from 5 IHR States;
Documentation of 8 best practices of water management.
Knowledge products developed: Policy recommendation -06; Monograph and museum -01; 20- Research Papers -20; Book chapters -10;
Generation of 5 types of database: Springs, rivers, Lakes and households water quality, GIS maps, RBT technology, River biodiversity, Hydro-meteorological,

Achievements till date ...

Rejuvenation activities have been implemented in 4 watersheds: (i) Upper Kosi, (ii) Irgad, (iii) Sainjand (iv) Senkhi.
Total 983 Spring data points have been inventoried in GIS platform.
01 Experimental site in Kosi for groundwater and soil moisture conservations.
Morphometric database for GLOF and LLOF identification.
07 new fish species have been recorded in Alaknanda river.
02 Koop-well sites and 01 Inline Electrolysis Unit have been established in UK.
07 Rain gauges, 4 soil moisture, 2 weather station have been installed.
02 Workshops have been organized: (i) Drinking water security and (ii) spring rejuvenation.
Analyzed qualitative and quantitative of benthic macro-invertebrates and fish diversity of Alaknanda river.
04 Types of databases (Water quality characterises, GIS, Benthic- macroinvertebrates, Meteorological) have been generated from selected water bodies.

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Last Updated on: 26.03.2019