The key factors responsible for the dwindling water supply are stated as water scarcity, urbanization, and climate change. Most of the towns are dependent on springs that are fed by local aquifers, which are natural underground systems and form the primary means of water supply.
Usually, the monsoons replenish the groundwater, but with concrete everywhere, water has reduced drastically. Management of the spring shed, distribution lines, and infrastructure is a few to name. Climate change has emerged as a force multiplier as it further induces stress on the system.
Throughout the region, the intrusion and deprivation of natural water sources (springs, reservoirs, lakes, canals, and rivers) and the increasing disappearance of traditional water systems (stone spouts, wells, and local water tanks) are clear,” a consequent press note highlights.
A study was done under the project Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience Research (HI-AWARE), conducted by a group of researchers from four countries during 2016-19 has been published by the Water Policy journal, of which the spotlight lies on the effects of disorganized urban design, deficient governance, water management and climate change on the water resources in 13 towns across India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
In India, the research was undertaken in the towns of eastern and western Himalayas, namely Singtam, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Devprayag, and Mussoorie.
According to the World Bank, “If we manage to urgently cut black carbon deposits, we may be able to significantly slow down the melting of glaciers, we can slow glacier melt by collectively acting to curb the black carbon deposits that are speeding the thinning of the ice.”
Without taking immediate measures, socio-economically deprived communities will face further disadvantages by the water crisis. “We are on an alarming path which may cause deeper inequality and wider gap between the haves and have-nots who will endure this climate emergency,” Wignaraja (UNDP’s regional director for Asia-Pacific), warned.