Worldwide, the demand for energy has risen significantly and quickly, leading to serious impacts on environmental sustainability and hindering global efforts to mitigate climate change. Hydropower, a leading renewable option has the additional benefits of water storage for agriculture and other uses.
In popular imagination, steeped in consumer culture, the hills are exotic and aesthetically sublime places to find solace away from busy urban life. This kind of imagination conveniently ignores and de-contextualizes the hills and the problems they face today. The Himalayas, often known as the Water Tower of Asia, are revered because many of the world's important rivers originate from them.
No temple is as venerated in Uttarakhand as the little unassuming naulas. These small hut-like structures dot the mountains and hold within them a great treasure--water. Usually made of stone masonry with pyramid-like slate roofs, every naula respresents within it a residing spirit which can range from a simple stone piece to an ornately carved statue.
Hydrogeology has, before this, been considered a highly specialised field known only to dedicated academics.
Despite being endowed with adequate rainfall, most parts of the Himalayas are considered water-stressed for both agricultural and domestic purposes. This is mainly due to the seasonality of precipitation, which is concentrated to the monsoon months. It remains dry for rest of the year.
Numerous small villages dot the Himalayas. These villages obtain water from springs that are in their turn supplied by small aquifers. Due to the complex folded nature of the rocks that make up the mountains, the area from which these aquifers receive their water may be at some distance away from the actual spring.
Gharats are water-powered grinding mills found in Himalayan villages. Though these are owned and managed by individuals, they are considered to be the common property of the entire village.