News Excerpt
Recently, the tribal ministry has launched ‘1000 spring initiative’ in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This initiative is likely to bridge the development-deprivation gap in specific tribal pockets through Rejuvenating Natural Springs.

•    According to Census 2011 data, access to safe and adequate water for tribal communities remains a major challenge. Nearly for half of Scheduled Tribe (ST) households, the access is ‘unimproved’. Less than 20 % of them have water available on their premises.
•    Many tribal communities live in hilly, thickly forested and hard-to-reach areas. Due to the hostile geography and complex hydro-geological limitations, the ground water development potential through conventional means is limited.

Key Objectives
    Springs are natural sources of groundwater discharge and have been used extensively in the mountainous regions across India. The initiative will help in harnessing the potential of perennial spring’s water to address natural scarcity of water in tribal areas.
    This initiative is intended to improve access to clean water which is essential for critical tribal development. Further it will foster the improved community led sanitation, nutrition and livelihoods.
    This initiative will focus on the preparation of a GIS-based spring atlas and integrated development solutions. Atlas has been developed to make this data easily accessible from an online platform. For instance- Data of more than 170 springs have been uploaded on the Spring Atlas.
    Under the initiative tribal youth in rural belt have been trained as barefoot hydro geologists by combining traditional and scientific knowledge for identification and mapping of springs, and undertaking rejuvenation and protection measures in their habitations.
    This initiative includes provision of infrastructure ranging from piped water supply for drinking and irrigation to community-led total sanitation initiatives and backyard nutrition gardens, generating sustainable livelihood opportunities.

    Benefits of Such initiative: Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impacts food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities. Further Sustainable Development Goal 6 recognizes the importance of access to clean water.
    Limitation: Spring discharge is reported to be declining due to increased water demand, changing land use patterns, ecological degradation and erratic trends in precipitation and threat of drying up.
    Expected Outcome:Rejuvenation of springs would lead to adequate quantity and quality of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.It will directly Empower communities to manage their water resources.

Countrywide Initiatives for Spring Rejuvenation
Natural springs are known as dhara, mool, kuan in the central and eastern Himalayas and Chashma and naula in the western Himalayas.
•    National Mission on Himalayan Studies
•    NITI-Aayog Report on Springs in the Indian Himalayan Region
•    Dhara vikas programme by Government of Sikkim.
•    HIMMOTTHAN - Mission Spring Revival (Uttarakhand).
•    Rejuvenation of 100 springs by Government of Mizoram & Government of Nagaland.
•    Grampari - Springbox model for water security in Western ghats.
•    Vishaka Jila Nav Nirman Samiti (VJNNS) in the Eastern Ghats by Multi-stakeholders.
•    Springshed Management in the Hill Districts of West Bengal.
•    Capacity Building for Spring Revival by Govt. of Meghalaya.