Better Governance Needed to Fix Water Crisis in Himalayan Towns (Download PDF)

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Better Governance Needed to Fix Water Crisis in Himalayan Towns

  • A recent study by ICIMOD (The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development) has revealed increased water insecurity in the Indian Himalayan towns.

  • A study by The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) says that 13 towns in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan in Hindu Kush Himalayas are facing water insecurity.

  • The five of these 13 towns are in India:

    • Mussoorie and Devprayag in Uttarakhand

    • Singtam in Sikkim

    • Kalimpong and Darjeeling in West Bengal.

  • Other 8 towns are:

    • Kathmandu, Bharatpur, Tansen, Damauli in Nepal

    • Muree and Havalian in Pakistan

    • Sylhet and Chittagong in Bangladesh

Water Crisis in the Himalayan Region

Water Crisis in the Himalayan Region

Water Crisis in the Himalayan Region


  • The reasons cited for water insecurity situation in the study are:

    • Water supply systems

    • Poor water governance

    • Lack of urban planning

    • Poor tourism management during peak season

    • Climate related risks and challenges

    • Rapid urbanization

    • Consequent increase in water demand

    • Encroachment and degradation of natural water bodies

    • Growing disappearance of traditional water systems

  • A study by HI-AWARE research project found that the people are being pulled from rural areas to nearby urban centres due to urbanization.

  • According to a study, by 2050 more than 50 % population will be living in cities which will further strain water resources.

  • The water demand-supply gap is 20 - 70 % in 8 out of the 13 studied towns and the gap will be doubled by 2050.

  • Three fourth of the urban centres showed high dependency on springs (between 50 - 100 %).

  • Demand has grown and is still growing whereas supply has been hit due to change in rainfall patterns. The availability of spring water has also been reduced.

  • According to IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change), the rainfall extremes will increase in coming years causing floods in some areas and making some areas drier.

  • Erratic monsoons have already caused harm to crops, increase in number of such events will raise the number of hungry people in India.

  • There is a need to:

    • Find sustainable ways of using water resources.

    • Participation by all stakeholders.

    • Urban involvement of women in water management and decision making.

    • Planning.

    • Understanding the seasonality and mapping of springs.

    • Better governance at local level.

- Published/Last Modified on: April 22, 2020

Environment/Ecology, Down-to-Earth

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