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Survey to map Himalayan springs soon

New Delhi: In a first of its kind survey, India will soon map all the springs in the Himalayan region of the country to form a national registry.

This is part of the government’s plan to revive natural sources of water in the hilly region. Drones would be deployed to assess the number of springs and their existing capacity.

“Springs are the lifeline of people living in the Himalayan regions. However, largescale development in the region has led to drying up of many springs which in turn has led to water scarcity,” a senior official told ET.

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A pilot project will be undertaken in Tehri Gharwal under the Namami Gange initiative of the Jal Shakti ministry, the official said. Destinations such asShimla, Mussorie, Nainital and even Gangtok often face acute water crisis. Besides, there are apprehensions that the process of drying of springs, if left unattended, could lead to largescale migration from the region.

The plan is to use the LiDAR technology with drones to assess the exact number of springs and their existing capacity based on which a concrete policy roadmap will be laid out.

LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflected light with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths will be used to make digital 3-D representations of the springs.

According to the official, the government has sought the cost and time estimate from the Survey of India for pan-India mapping following which a national register for springs will be compiled and updated at regular intervals.

A NITI Aayog report on sustainable development of the Himalayas said nearly 30% of springs are drying and 50% have reported reduced discharge.

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