Love your holidays at hill stations? However, it’s time we make those plans keeping conscious travelling in mind. A new study suggests that 13 Indian hill stations are facing water shortage. By Tanvi Jain


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A study conducted across 13 towns in four countries namely India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, has revealed increasing risk of water scarcity. And India has some of the worst hit hill stations like Mussoorie, Devprayag, Singtam, Kalimpong, and Darjeeling.   

Poor water governance, lack of urban planning, poor tourism management, and climate related risks, are some of the factors that have been held responsible for the crisis. The study was conducted by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and was published in the journal Water Policy. 


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It also shows that the inter-linkages of water availability, water supply systems, rapid urbanisation, and consequent increase in water demand (both daily as well as seasonal) are leading to increasing water insecurity. Moreover, although communities are trying to cope up with the crisis through groundwater extraction, it’s proving to be unsustainable. This requires long term strategies, for which it needs special attention of planners and local governments. 


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“From the case studies of the Himalayan towns, it is evident that increasing urbanisation and climate change are two critical stressors that are adversely affecting the biophysical environment of the urban Himalaya. With development plans and policies focusing more on rural areas, issues surrounding urban environments have been side-lined. Across the region, the encroachment and degradation of natural water bodies (springs, ponds, lakes, canals, and rivers) and the growing disappearance of traditional water systems (stone spouts, wells, and local water tanks) are evident. The degradation and reclamation of water bodies affect wetland ecosystems and reduce retention capacities that prevent flooding. Consequently, urban drainage and flood management systems are being impaired,” the study mentioned. 


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It is estimated that by 2050, over 50 per cent of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH), will be living in cities, thereby adding more stress on water resources. Apart from lack of urban planning, poor tourism management, and climate-related risks, some other studies also blame it on factors like lack of rainwater harvesting, storm-water management and proper sewage systems. 

Reports suggest that of the 12 Himalayan states, Assam, Mizoram and the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are the most vulnerable to climate change. 

Related: Explore These Hill Stations Of India For A Relaxing Vacation!