Wateris one of the most important natural resources of Himachal Pradesh. The stateis richly endowed with a hilly terrain having an enormous volume of water fromthe catchment areas of Satluj, Beas, Ravi and Chenab rivers. As such, the statehas enormous potential of water resources in the form of glaciers and riversbut ground water resources are limited.
The major consumptive use of water inthe State has been for irrigation. The gross irrigation potential of the Stateis estimated to be 3.35 lakh hectares, while the irrigation potential createdhas reached 2.
56 lakh hectares by September 2013 (Shalini Chauhan et.al, 2017).The water resource availability in Himachal Pradesh is highly uneven in bothplace and time.
The rainfall is limited to only about four months in a year andthis rainfall varies from 600 mm in Lahaul & Spiti to3200 mm in kangradistrict. Glaciers are located in higher Himalayan reaches (above 4000 m) inPir Panjal, Dhauladhar, Zanskar and Great Himalayan ranges. There are 800Glaciers in the Himachal Himalayas which are 199 higher in number as comparedto the previous report of 601 Glaciers in the state reported in the StateDevelopment Report in 1991.
This variation is due to breaking of large glaciersinto smaller ones with the increasing temperature in past two decades. As there is an imbalance between thesupply and consumption of water, particularly by the poor and weaker sectionsof the society, the traditional sources of water plays a significant role.These include springs, Khuls, Baories, Ponds, Khaties and ditches particularlyin Himachal Pradesh.
These systems supplement the water requirements of the ruraland urban areas. There are 10512 traditional sources of water in the state forrural habitations. Very less sources of water are in good working condition,and maximum sources are not in proper working condition and nearly going to dryin near future. In Chamba district less than 1 % sources were found in goodcondition and more than 99 % of them are in poor condition. Sirmaur districtshows a similar trend whereas slightly good than Chamba district. Theconditions of these traditional sources are quite good in Solan District whichis more than 53 %.
A case study was done by State Council for ScienceTechnology & Environment to examine the good and bad condition of waterresources in the state. The surveyed districts were Sirmour, Hamirpur, Kullu, Kangra,Chamba, Shimla, Solan. The increasing population is one of the major causes ofwater resource scarcity in Himachal Pradesh. Due to increasing population wateravailability per capita per day is decreasing day by day. On the other hand,global warming is resulting in breaking of glaciers and rapidly melting ofglaciers.
Industrialization is also a key factor affecting the water quality inthe state. (Directory of water resources, Himachal Pradesh, 2014).