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


  • 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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