Himalayan region comprises of four districts namely- Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar in recent years started facing water crisis due to erratic and skewed pattern of rainfall, increased anthropogenic activities around the spring recharge zone, high population pressure led rapid urbanization in the area. Moreover, these dynamic changes in the region gradually dismantling the ground water balance and henceforth, disrupting the discharge of the natural springs to a great extent. In this backdrop, Rajarhat PRASARI along with ACWADAM did a technical research on the existing perennial springs of the Himalayan region and found a gradually declining pattern of those springs’ discharge which is also affecting the overall water availability in this region. Knowingly, Government of West Bengal (GoWB), came forward to tackle this problem and initiated “Jharnadhara” programme where PRASARI became a partner with the main responsibilities to capacitate the primary stakeholders i.e., Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) resource persons, local spring volunteers (Dhara Sevaks), Gram Panchayat and Block resource persons. PRASARI is also continuing their research endeavors to better comprehend the impact of the activities planned with land-use management on springshed recharge area to improve the overall quality of the work.
PRASARI a development organization has been dealing with water issues (both surface and subsurface water management since its inception) took the challenge and in collaboration with MGNREGA cell, GoWB and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) formulated a standard springshed management system to tackle the burgeoning crisis of water availability in the hills. Importantly, in the last financial year i.e., 2017-18 PRASARI along with GoWB developed this multi-stakeholder & multilayered (increasing water discharge of the spring, creating sustainable community asset through people’ participation and channelizing surplus water and other natural resources to develop sustainable livelihood) programme rightly named as “Jharnadhara” to sustainably manage the water availability of 612 springs in the region covering 112 Gram Panchayats and 8 Community Development Blocks which are need to be identified and managed within the coming three financial years ending in 2019-20. This sustainable springshed management approach will not only benefit the local people but also in the long run will enhance water availability in the down streams and positively affect the flora and fauna of the Himalayan region.