Kumaun Himalayas

Hydropower in the Himalayas: Potential and risks
Study highlights significant hydropower opportunities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 8 months ago

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.

Hydel project near Kullu (Image: Nadir Hashmi, Flickr Commons)
Springing back to life
CHIRAG in Uttarakhand works with communities to revive local springs to achieve water security. priyad posted 1 year 9 months ago

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.

Image source: Water Practitioners Network
The Last Builder of Naulas in Chatola, Nainital
Constructing naulas, the small structures that house springs in Uttarakhand, requires an intimate knowledge of many sciences. One of the last practitioners of this dying craft tells his story. chicu posted 5 years 4 months ago

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.

Ratan Singh Bisht is one of the few people today who constructs naulas
Barefoot hydrogeologists: The next generation
The time taken for villages in Nainital district, Uttarakhand to resolve their spring-related disputes has shrunk from two year to six months. Here's why. chicu posted 5 years 10 months ago

I first met Kunti and Priya at a meeting of the Springs Initiative, which is a network of organisations and individuals working across India to restore their springs.

Kunti and Priya discuss their plans with Budani
Studying springs: A matter of life and death
Mountain dwellers across India are learning hydrogeology in a bid to save their dying springs. In the process, they are also revolutionizing their lives. chicu posted 6 years 2 months ago

Hydrogeology has, before this, been considered a highly specialised field known only to dedicated academics.

Learning hydrogeology informs spring restoration
Uttarakhandi women 1, Ultra Tech Cement 0
Four Gram Panchayats in Uttarakhand joined forces to oppose a cement plant. They won this battle, but will India's villagers win the war? chicu posted 6 years 8 months ago

When Basanti Devi entered the village of Bachwadi in Uttarakhand's Takula block on one of her routine visits, she knew that something was wrong. Instead of the normal hustle, groups of men stood about talking quietly.

Uttarakhandi women are a force to be reckoned with
Small schemes, big impact
Local knowledge, low cost technology, community participation and maximum conservation of available water from natural sources have helped increase available water in Pauri Garhwal. Manu Moudgil posted 7 years 4 months ago

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.

A recharge pit under construction (Source: HIMCON)
Separated by a spring
Two villages used the same spring as their source of water for generations but over time, it divided rather than unite them. What caused it and was it ever resolved? chicu posted 7 years 4 months ago

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.

Bedu Naula, in Uttarakhand
Resurrecting the dying 'gharats' of Uttarkashi
Once thought to be common property of the village, these traditional water-powered grinding mills are disappearing. Can reviving them restore a sense of community as well? chicu posted 7 years 8 months ago

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.

The improved gharat (watermill) at Ganeshpur
Sacchidanand Bharti - in his own words
The environmental conservation efforts in Ufrenkhal have been written about for nearly three decades but always by others. Here is the story in the protagonist's own words. chicu posted 7 years 9 months ago

Reams have been written about Sacchidanand Bharti, of Ufrenkhal fame and his work on afforestation and water conservation. However, very rarely does he speak about his own efforts and experiences.

Sacchidanand Bharti in the Ufrenkhal forest