Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh, India

Palampur is a small town of less than 15 000 people that lies at the feet of the Dhauladhar mountain range in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh. The Dhauladhar mountains are covered in snow through the year; the melt from its glaciers and snow feeds numerous springs, streams and rivers that flow down to settlements like Palampur. The surrounding countryside has a system of still-maintained kuhl channels used for irrigation and farming. Palampur town and households obtains its water mainly from the Neugal River through a piped pumping system; the Neugal also has numerous hydro-power interventions along its length. The oldest source of water lies to the north of the town and comes from a spring named Bohal, located beneath a forest. Our research partners...

Negotiating and Implementing a RWA in Palampur, India

Reciprocal Water Access (RWA) Agreement

Central Palampur derives around 10% of its water supply from a spring just to the north of the settlement. The origins of the spring lie beneath a forest that has in the recent past been harvested and degraded to a significant degree through the herding and fuelwood needs and actions of the inhabitants of three hamlets just upstream of Palampur. During these periods of intensive forest extraction, flowing water quantities declined towards the centre of town. In order to address the suspected link between forest use and water flows, local NGOs and researchers teamed up to address the land use and community issues that were leading to the over-extraction of forest products. In order to do this, the Municipal Council (MC) was brought on...