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Lunghar shows the path in springshed conservation

Nando Waikhom *

  Lunghar shows the path in springshed conservation
Lunghar shows the path in springshed conservation :: Pix - TSE



With a large number of educated youth actively engaged in water resource conservation, Lunghar village in Ukhrul district is likely to see a vibrant transformation. Teaming up with the Pune based Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICMOD), Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) and Department of Environment and Climate Change, these youths have been playing a crucial role in the identification of springsheds in the village for rejuvenation.

The joint team has so far identified 26 springsheds in the village, out of which 13 are in critical conditions. The youths also took a pivotal role in containing the Covid pandemic in the village last year. Their pro-active role in generating Covid awareness and Covid testing during the pandemic are appreciated by the villagers even today.

30-year-old Ihao, who spearheaded the local youth of Lunghar village in the springsheds conservation work, claimed that deterioration of springsheds has become a serious issue for Lunghar and adjoining villages with its impacts rising every year. "Drying of springsheds has compelled some of the households which did agriculture and fish farming at the lower hill range of Lunghar village to abandon their farmlands.

Earlier, the springsheds had been the main source for irrigation and allied activities", he said. He added that the phenomenon has worsened in the last 10 years or so, compelling many households of Lunghar village to rely on water tankers for drinking and other household chores.

Yursem Yangya, a geologist from Volunteers for Village Development (VVD), Ukhrul who provides technical assistance to Lunghar youths in line with the project claimed that the entire team would explore maximum springsheds. He continued that the NGOs involved in the project will initially emphasise on conducting capacity training for youths in Lunghar village while the main work of the project would be probably initiated from the month of February.

"Most of the youths in Lunghar are aware about the phenomenon of dying springsheds but they need to understand more about the technical works" Yursem added.

ACWADAM Chairman Dr Himanshu Kulkarni maintained that there are clear evidences of drying springsheds in North Eastern States of India and it is going to be a critical problem from the perspective of water scarcity in the country, specially in villages.

Citing changes in precipitation pattern, land use pattern and depletion of aquifers as some of the major factors for drying springsheds in various parts of the Indian Himalayan Region, Himanshu informed that ACWADAM and various CSOs and NGOs including social mobilization related ones have been making concerted efforts to revive around 10,000 springs across the Indian Himalayas.

He informed that the pilot project at Lunghar village has the crucial components for building capacity around spring water management, action research that undertakes systematic studies, monitoring, measuring of the geo-hydrology and the spring management plan that will broadly include recharging aquifers that feed the springs.

"Decentralized governance where the villagers decide on the ways to revive spring water and sorting out the systems and protocols of management and institution of governance is also very much necessary", the Chairman added.

Talking about the positive impacts of taking up participatory springshed management, he asserted that some of the villages in other parts of Himalayan Region had already witnessed improvement on the quality of springsheds with increase in spring water recharge following the initiative. He further claimed that the initiative has improved social use and governance of spring water management and ultimately benefited the communities concerned.

The Chairman added that reviving springs greatly contributes in the rejuvenation of rivers and in creating a healthy eco-system. Joint Director of the Department of Environment and Climate Change T Brajakumar who took a key role in rolling out the project stated that at least 50 per cent of the State's naturally available spring water sources are drying up and it has drastically reduced the volume of water of many rivers in the State.

"The department has minutely observed the profiles of all catchment areas in the State and subsequently selected Lunghar village for the project. The Phangrei mountain range areas is a natural water reserve which supplies drinking water to the whole of Ukhrul district headquarters", he added.

Brajakumar went on to inform that the Department of Environment and Climate Change would prepare a DPR and necessary documents and submit the report to Niti Ayog after completing geological survey and mapping.


* Nando Waikhom wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This feature is written under Media Fellowship on Climate Change reporting of the Directorate of Environment & Climate Change, Manipur
This article was posted on January 18, 2022.


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