The political economy of water Security, ecosystem services and livelihoods in the Western Himalayas
This aim of this project was to study the ways in which small towns in the hill and mountain regions of South Asia depend on springs, streams and rivers for the supply of water. Current infrastructure planning processes tend to focus on the needs of large urban settlements, neglecting the needs of small towns (defined as populations below 100,000 people) which have grown so rapidly and are so important in India and Nepal - almost half the urban population in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and in the hill regions of Nepal, live in small towns.
These towns also tend to be relatively resource poor, lacking the revenue and resources available to larger settlements, and their populations and settlement patterns usually display peri-urban and semi-rural characteristics, making infastructure planning and provision particularly challenging.
The team are undertook an assessment of the hyrdological dependence and waterflows from the surrounding areas of small towns in two Indian states, and in the hill regions of Nepal. This led to an understanding of the synergies and trade-offs associated with managing these areas to secure water supply for the towns, in relation to their potential use for other livelihood and resource use strategies.