That is how the poet Valmiki portrays the rain bestowed on the Blue Mountains of South India. Abundant water sources make the high hills a fountainhead to the plains below and this sweet nectar play a crucial part in Nilgiris life, for both the ecology and the economy.

But the region’s rivers and wetlands are under threat today. Faced with an alarming scenario, Keystone felt an urgent need to work on the aspects of water management, protection of resources and increasing awareness amongst dependent communities. And the work to maintain the pristine grateful waters continues to be at the heart of the organization, constantly seeping into new streams of projects and initiatives.

Over the last two decades Keystone has worked on a number of projects that have intervened to improve access to water for local communities, increase the knowledge base on water resources in the Nilgiris and provide inputs to advocacy for conservation of hill wetlands and other water resources.

Programme Components

CHALLENGES

Lack of data on locations and status of springs • Negative perception of swamps • Lack of legal recognition to small hill wetlands • Pressure for diversion of wetlands to other land use • Contamination of spring water due to open defecation and sewage • Drying up of springs due to extraction of water through open wells, borewells etc. • Mainstreaming of traditional culture leading to erosion of traditional knowledge and practices • Curtailed access to natural resources such as springs, wetlands and forests

INTERVENTIONS

Mapping • Periodic monitoring of quantity and quality of water • Source protection • Ecorestoration of springsheds of wetland catchments • Strengthening cultural ties to springs and wetlands • Documentation of culture and knowledge pertaining to water resources • Revival of springs and wetlands going hand in hand with renewal of traditional practices • Increasing awareness of culture and traditions around water among all stakeholders

IMPACTS

Increased awareness regarding the importance of springs and wetlands • Protection of springs and wetlands to improve quality of water and ecosystem • Ecorestoration of springsheds, wetlands, and their catchments • Invaluable knowledge pertaining to culture and traditions related to water preserved • Sustainability of water interventions strengthened through linkages with cultural traditions

 

 

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