Springs are a characteristic feature of the hills. They are places in the soil or rock where groundwater emerges naturally and in the Nilgiris, the sites of many of the older habitations were chosen due to the presence of springs there. Even today a good number of villages in the hills depend on springs for their water supply.

Springs are the sources of all rivers and streams in the southern hills. In the absence of glaciers that feed the northern rivers, the dry season flows in southern rivers are maintained by springs. By slowly releasing the water stored in aquifers into the streams and rivers, springs ensure that various forms of life including humans are able to survive even when there are no rains for prolonged periods.

The quality and quantity of water from springs are affected by the nature of the aquifer feeding the spring, rainfall pattern, land-use patterns in the springshed (catchment area), waste disposal in the springshed etc. Identifying the springshed for each spring by studying the hydrogeology of the area can help us conserve the springs by safeguarding the springsheds from these threats.