1000 Springs Initiative
Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impacts food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities, and Sustainable Development Goal #6 recognizes the importance of access to clean water. Many tribal communities, especially, the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups live in hilly, thickly forested and hard-to-reach areas. Due to the tricky geography and complex hydro-geological limitations, the ground water development potential through conventional means (dug wells/tube wells/bore holes, etc.) is limited. However, springs - a natural source of groundwater in the hilly areas -- could address the various multi-dimensional vulnerabilities associated with the lack of water security in tribal areas.
The '1000 Springs Initiative' by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and United Nations Development Programme demonstrated a localized innovative solution by harnessing the potential of perennial springs to meet the water needs of the remote tribal communities.
More than 400 springs in four tribal dominated districts of Odisha have been mapped to create an online Spring Atlas https://thespringsportal.org/. This GIS online inventory will help in locating springs, analysing their health status, quality of water, discharge capacity and other physical, chemical and biological properties. It will fill the crucial information gap to develop a national map of springs and build capacities of communities and other stakeholders in protection, preservation and management of the springs for sustainability of the resource.
- A cadre of tribal youths drawn from the tribal dominated districts in Odisha were trained as barefoot hydrogeologists by leveraging traditional and scientific knowledge for identification and mapping of springs in order to implement spring rejuvenation and protection measures. These tribal barefoot hydrogeologists are involved in carrying out the discharge measurements, surveillance of quality and management such as PH, TDS, temperature, electrical conductivity and bacterial contamination of spring water.
- A mobile application has been developed which is being used by these bare-foot hydrologists to capture the important hydrogeological properties of springs. This data is in turn fed into an GIS-based Spring Atlas https://thespringsportal.org/ which is an online inventory of springs easily accessible to all.
- Community led Spring-based water infrastructure has been demonstrated through convergence with MGNREGA to provide safe and adequate water for drinking, domestic and livelihood.
This 1000 Springs Initiative is being upscaled to the tribal regions in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh falling in the Eastern Ghats.