is one of the most important natural resources of Himachal Pradesh. The state
is richly endowed with a hilly terrain having an enormous volume of water from
the catchment areas of Satluj, Beas, Ravi and Chenab rivers. As such, the state
has enormous potential of water resources in the form of glaciers and rivers
but ground water resources are limited. The major consumptive use of water in
the State has been for irrigation. The gross irrigation potential of the State
is estimated to be 3.35 lakh hectares, while the irrigation potential created
has reached 2.56 lakh hectares by September 2013. The water resource
availability in Himachal Pradesh is highly uneven in both place and time. The
rainfall is limited to only about four months in a year and this rainfall
varies from 600 mm in Lahaul & Spiti to3200 mm in kangra district. Glaciers
are located in higher Himalayan reaches (above 4000 m) in Pir Panjal,
Dhauladhar, Zanskar and Great Himalayan ranges. There are 800 Glaciers in the
Himachal Himalayas which are 199 higher in number as compared to the previous
report of 601 Glaciers in the state reported in the State Development Report in
1991. This variation is due to breaking of large glaciers into smaller ones
with the increasing temperature in past two decades.
As there is an imbalance between the
supply and consumption of water, particularly by the poor and weaker sections
of the society, the traditional sources of water plays a significant role.
These include springs, Khuls, Baories, Ponds, Khaties and ditches particularly
in Himachal Pradesh. These systems supplement the water requirements of the
rural and urban areas. There are 10512 traditional sources of water in the
state for rural habitations. Very less sources of water are in good working
condition, and maximum sources are not in proper working condition and nearly
going to dry in near future. In Chamba district less than 1 % sources were
found in good condition and more than 99 % of them are in poor condition.
Sirmaur district shows a similar trend whereas slightly good than Chamba
district. The conditions of these traditional sources are quite good in Solan
District which is more than 53 %. A case study was done by State Council for
Science Technology & Environment to examine the good and bad condition of
water resources in the state. The surveyed districts were Sirmour, Hamirpur,
Kullu, Kangra, Chamba, Shimla, Solan. The increasing population is one of the
major causes of water resource scarcity in Himachal Pradesh. Due to increasing
population water availability per capita per day is decreasing day by day. On
the other hand, global warming is resulting in breaking of glaciers and rapidly
melting of glaciers. Industrialization is also a key factor affecting the water
quality in the state. (Directory of water resources in Himachal Pradesh, 2014).
Water utilization pattern for domestic and
drinking purpose is also uneven because there are some districts which have
high population and demand of water is very high, on the other hand there are
some districts which are less populated and water requirement is comparatively
low. There are 5 major perennial rivers flowing in the state; these are the
Beas, the Ravi, the Satluj, Yamuna, and Chenab.
These rivers fulfill all types of water requirement of the inhabitants
of Himachal Pradesh. Besides these rivers, some other sources of water
available are lakes, springs, Tubewells, Nallahs, Handpumps, Ponds and Khatris/
Bawries. Due to developmental activities and increasing population these water
resources are getting contaminated and shrinking day by day. Except these
causes the key factor of water scarcity is global warming or climate change.
The glaciers are melting at a very high rate and the traditional sources of water
like khatries/bawries are becoming dry.