Water sources of all kinds, flows and shapes have high religious, historical and other cultural significance, especially for indigenous people.
In the Nilgiris, tribal people have placed homes and livelihoods in the vicinity of watersheds, acknowledging the source of life it provides and many of the wetlands have been assigned spiritual and cultural significance. Also, other local communities have a rich tradition around water. But, sadly, with the pace of development wetlands have become insignificant and are being converted into vegetable fields, leading to drastic loss of these valuable natural assets alongside the loss of the more invisible aspects of this element of nature. The deterioration in cultural significance must be acknowledged alongside the environmental impacts and the ecological decline in a pursuit of holistic water-management and care.
Looking into the traditional practices of communities in Nilgiris can also serve as an inspiration for water governance, where for example marking of spring sites as sacred may help in enforcing systems of use.