What is it about?

Our study examines the water supply systems, their sociopolitical dynamics, and the future of water management in two Indian towns in the Eastern Himalaya, Kalimpong in West Bengal and Singtam in Sikkim. The research was centred around issues of demand and supply, water scarcity and stress, equity, water governance, and the sustainable conservation and management of water resources in a climate change context. This study finds that spring sources are drying alarmingly in Singtam, even as demand is increasing dramatically due to a floating population that is more than the number of local inhabitants. The town suffers from the lack of an adequate reservoir facility and the frequent damage of water supply pipes during the monsoon. Kalimpong also faces acute water shortages all year round.

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Why is it important?

Our findings found that the political tug of war between the state government agencies and the local government around the management and supply of water, declining water discharge in spring sources, the lack of water infrastructure for repair, maintenance, and supply, and the glaring inequity between the higher, middle, and lower income groups are the immediate issues around water hampering the conservation of springs.

Perspectives

We hope that the development of water security plans and their strict enforcement through multi-institutional collaboration can contribute to improved water governance and socioecological restoration for sustainable water resources management as the springs in the mountains and hills in the Eastern Himalayas are rapidly drying and need immediate conservation measures.

Ghanashyam Sharma
The Mountain Institute India

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This page is a summary of: Water management systems of two towns in the Eastern Himalaya: case studies of Singtam in Sikkim and Kalimpong in West Bengal states of India, Water Policy, May 2019, IWA Publishing, DOI: 10.2166/wp.2019.229.
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