People digging staggered contour trenches (SCT) in Phuvkiu village, Kiphire district. Spring rejuvenation activities have been taken up in several districts in an attempt to recharge groundwater. Photo: Eastern Mirror

Nagaland commissioner and secretary for land resources development department, Y Kikheto Sema said that water and food were equally important and out of the approximately 7,000 springs located within human habitation in Nagaland were drying up.

According to him, 4,520 springs are almost drying up and needed immediate rejuvenation.

Represented Nagaland state in a meeting on Inventory and Revival of Springs in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) at the NITI Aayog at New Delhi on July 12, Kikheto gave a power-point presentation, sharing about implementation of pilot projects on Spring-shed Management, stated that forefathers had established villages only after ascertaining availability of spring sources.

However, most of the springs were drying up due to unmanaged human activities and effects of climate change. Few states in IHR including the state of Nagaland visualized the urgency of reviving springs and initiatives were started on this issue. He acknowledged the contributions made by Peoples’ Science Institute (PSI) Dehradun and Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) Pune for imparting trainings and conducting workshops in the state for the last couple of years.

Sema further stated that 46 Nos of Para-Hydrogeologists have been trained in the department who in turn imparts training to the communities in spring-shed management.

Kikheto said that out of about 71,000 springs in the state; approximately 7,000 springs are dependent on by the communities for their water requirements. With a little assistance from the state government during the last couple of years, the department has taken up one spring-shed pilot project in each of the 11 districts. It included community sensitization and mobilization, discharge measurement, water quality testing, hydrogeological studies of the spring-shed and demarcation of the effective recharge zones, and various interventions such as mechanical measures and vegetative measures. After intervention, each pilot springs had shown increase in discharge by about 300% within two years.

The land resources development department has created an inventory for 2,361 springs covering both physical and water quality parameters which were submitted to the ministry of water resources and central ground water Board in June 2019.

While appreciating the union government for taking up serious notes on revival of springs in the Indian Himalayan region, Kikheto urged the Centre to take this on mission mode and allocate separate fund for its implementation as most of the IHR states are not in a position to rejuvenate springs in large scale due to resource constrains.

While acknowledging the presentation made by Nagaland, member of NITI Aayog V K Saraswat commented the efforts made by few IHR states such as Nagaland, Sikkim and Meghalaya and urged other states to emulate from them.

He also informed that he would be visiting all the IHR States and shall be discussing with the chief ministers and chief secretaries on these issues.

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