To provide more insights into these issues, this Working Paper identifies and maps spring systems, water budgeting, groundwater flows, and governance issues around the pilot areas of the Chibo–Pashyor watershed of Kalimpong. A total of 55 springs were mapped in the study site and 12 critical springs were selected for monitoring and detailed study, based on vulnerability criteria developed for this research. An analysis of water access, discharge, and budgeting, based on the “National Rural Drinking Water Programme Guidelines 2013”, was also conducted. Furthermore, in order to understand spring sources and resources as well as recharge areas, hydrogeological and lithological studies were conducted.
For this study, understanding groundwater flow was critical. Groundwater is stored and transmitted through aquifers. So, an aquifer is considered the basic element in any study of groundwater or watershed development. Spring water is part of the groundwater system and only becomes “surface water” after flowing into a surface waterbody such as a stream or a lake.
Based on a study of critical springs in the watershed, the paper presents a set of recommendations related to key issues of governance and management. It also explains the science behind the drying up of springs in the study area. Finally, key take-home messages for communities, practitioners, and administrators are provided to promote conservation of these springs for the future water security of the area, and to link it to climate change adaptation actions.