Announcing The 1000 Springs Initiative: A Consortium for Clean Water in Tribal Areas of Central & Eastern India

Oct 18, 2017

NEW DELHI: The United Nations Development Programme today signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, and a range of private consortium partners to announce the 1000 Springs Initiative. The 1000 Springs Initiative is an attempt to address multiple development deprivations in tribal areas by harnessing springs in a sustainable manner.

“UNDP India is honoured to partner with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and a range of partners, both public and private, on the 1000 Springs initiative. Ensuring better access to clean water is critical for tribal development, and by rejuvenating natural springs, communities can also improve sanitation, nutrition and livelihoods,” said Marina Walter, Country Director a.i., UNDP India.

Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impacts food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities, and Sustainable Development Goal #6 recognizes the importance of access to clean water. According to Census 2011 data, access to safe and adequate water for tribal communities remains a major challenge. Nearly half of all Scheduled Tribe (ST) households access ‘unimproved’ or ‘partially improved’ water. Less than 20 percent have water available on their premises.

Many tribal communities live in hilly, thickly forested and hard-to-reach areas. Due to the tricky geography and complex hydro-geological limitations, the ground water development potential through conventional means (dug wells/tube wells/bore holes, etc.) is limited. However, springs­­ -- a natural source of groundwater in the hilly areas -- could address the various multi-dimensional vulnerabilities associated with the lack of water security in tribal areas.

The 1000 Springs Initiative will focus on the preparation of a GIS-based spring atlas and devise and proposei ntegrated development solutions around springs, ranging from piped water supply infrastructure for drinking and irrigation to community-led total sanitation initiatives and backyard nutrition gardens, generating sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Arghyam, ACWADAM, BRLF, BAIF, PRADAN and the Tata Steel Rural Development Society are the other members of the consortium, bringing technical, implementation and financial support for the revival, development and management of springs in hilly and mountainous tribal areas

Contact information

Sushil Chaudhary
UNDP India

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