The government thinks snow harvesting may be the answer to an assured and continuous supply of water when the flow of glacier-fed rivers recedes during winters.
Alarmed by the projected adverse impact of global warming on the country’s water reserves, the water resources ministry’s advisory council on artificial recharge of groundwater has decided to bring out a white paper on the subject.
In a research paper on water conservation, SC Dhiman, member of the central ground water board, said snow is stored in artificially created fields to ensure optimum water levels in springs downstream under snow harvesting. For artificial recharge to be affective, it is essential to integrate engineering skills with meteorological and hydrological expertise, he wrote.
Experts from the Indian Hydrological Institute and other agencies have already been pressed into service to conduct research on a number of Himalayan glaciers and develop new techniques for snow harvesting. So far, they have conducted research on less than 50 of the 9575 glaciers in the Indian Himalayas.
Water conservation and management experts have suggested a detailed study of traditional systems of water harvesting and storage. The advisory council has also recommended a study of successful strategies adopted by certain urban and rural bodies in other parts of the country.
The council has also suggested launching a special campaign to disseminate information on groundwater recharge and rain harvesting in educational institutions. And the water resources ministry also plans to approach the directorate of film festivals to incorporate a section on water in film festivals.
Six independent monitors will be appointed to observe the progress of programmes on groundwater recharge in the country’s six zones. The programmes will give priority to areas/blocks where groundwater levels have dipped alarmingly.