Dehradun: Climate change alone may not be the reason, but it is a matter of grave concern that almost 70 per cent of the water sources in the Himalayan region are just now half of what they were some years back, while as many as five per cent of the water falls that were once a common sight have dried up.
According to reports as per a study being conducted for the past over thirty years by scientists of the Wadia Himalaya Geology Institute here various perennial streams in the Himalayas have now been reduced to small nullahs whose flows are confined to the rainy season alone, drying up after the rains have receded.
What is appalling is the fact that most of these streams were tributaries to the bigger rivers that follow downhill to the plains and provide much needed water for irrigation and drinking purposes. With these tributaries being reduced to monsoon streams, the discharge of the various rivers that they flowed into has also been adversely affected.
Scientists believe that the climate change may be playing a major role in the reducing of the water levels and drying up of the water sources in the Himalayan region. They feel that the rain pattern has changed considerably due to the warming up and rains are now confined to a shorter period of time and coming down in torrents.
Because of this the water flow is fast and the rain water follows into the tivers and steams much before it has the time to percolate down. Earlier the intensity of the rains was less and they were spread over a greater period of time because of which the rain water would percolate down and feed the aquifers, which is not happening to that extent these days.
Other factors that are also being held responsible for drying up of the water falls and reduced water in the water sources is the indiscriminate felling of trees, reduction of tree cover with forests being diverted for other purposes, landslides and land slips, hydel power projects that are coming up in large numbers in the Himalayan region and cracks in the mountains.
It has been suggested that there is an urgent need to tackle the situation and preservation efforts should be taken up in a big way. Wherever possible check dams and check walls should be constructed so that the water can percolate down and recharge the aquifers and the areas around the water sources should be properly conserved.