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Global Ideas

When the Himalayas run dry

Droughts and deforestation threaten farmers on the foot hills. But clever water storage can help.

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Climate change in the Himalayas

Project Goal: Using springs and other water resources more efficiently.

Project Impact: more than 380,000 people in Sikkim depend on springs.

Project Scale: around 500 springs were entered into the data base.

Most of the farmers in the Indian state of Sikkim use water from springs, not from rivers, to water their fields. But that is increasingly challenging since it often doesn’t rain, and only occasionally is there enough water to water the fields. What makes the situation even more dire is that deforestation means that the trees have an increasingly difficult time keeping the water in the area.

Now India’s government, together with WWF India, has created a project that aims to find a permanent solution to this problem. The goal is to show locals how to survive drought periods by storing water.


The project has already been a help to the villagers of Palitam. They dug pits to transfer rain water via the ground water into the springs. This extra water is now used to irrigate more vegetable fields, and to help keep more animals.

A film by Wolf Gebhardt.

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