Water Resources Management

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 883–907 | Cite as

Environmental Changes and Sustainable Development of Water Resources in the Himalayan Headwaters of India

  • Prakash Chandra TiwariEmail author
  • Bhagwati Joshi


The nature of terrain imposes severe limitations on the scale of productive activities as well as on the efficiency of infrastructural facilities in the Indian Himalaya. As a result, biomass based subsistence agriculture constitutes the main source of rural livelihood. During the recent past, rural resource development practices have changed in response to population increase and the resultant increased demand on natural resources as well as increasing socio-economic and political marginalization. This has brought about rapid environmental changes which have reduced the groundwater recharge in the region. About 36% of springs have dried, heads of perennial streams have dried and water discharge in springs and streams has decreased considerably resulting into severe crisis of water for drinking as well as irrigation during the past 20 years. In addition to assessing the impact of recent environmental changes on water resources, this paper attempts to develop a community and user oriented framework for the sustainable development of water resources with a case illustration of Kosi headwater in Kumaon Lesser Himalaya, India.


Rural resource use structure Climate change Land use changes Participatory resource management Spring sanctuaries Wasteland management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKumaun UniversityNainitalIndia
  2. 2.Department of GeographyGovernment Post Graduate CollegeUdham Singh NagarIndia

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