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We can say that once the Himalayas which named as a idyllic beauty spots are now experiencing impact of climate changes in rainfall patterns overall world including hills, plain because of urbanization, globalization at a rapid speed and leaving local residents in need of urgent measures to secure their freshwater supplies. A report came from Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG) Mukteshwar Nainital on how climate change is getting worse day by day because of urbanisation-generating problems as a result it impacting water security in Uttarakhand, India.
Own residence at hills is a dream for many people ,investors and buyers, who imagine their holiday home, retirement home or second home there. Mukteshwar hills is a calming destination located at an elevation of 7,200 metres above from sea level in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Many villages around the Mukteshwar temple which is situated in Kumaon hills is a paradise for tourist’s and presents a breathtaking view of the lofty, snow-capped Himalayan mountain range along with the view of Nanda Devi range. Tourists prefer it over nearby areas such as Nainital, Almora and Ranikhet because of its unblemished, pristine splendour.
However, the place whose name is on the sacred Shiva temple is losing its long-known name and fame to unplanned expansion. The area has seen an increasing influx of people who are seeking hillside properties. There are several reason in which one of the main reasons that the area is set for a tough ride ahead is the rapid land use changes that began in the 1980s and have been fast-tracked since 2000. Construction of tourist complexes, resorts, hotels, and private cottages which are used by townie from places such as Delhi and Mumbai as their short calming, relaxing and stay away from chaos vacation
Many of them are not happy with their experience of nature’s beauty from a hotel and want to own a property in the area. For this escape from the chaos of everyday mega-city life, they are even ready to deal with a maze of local by-laws if need be.
Communities which are located at mountain regions of India, including in Mukteshwar in the Himalayas, get their drinking and domestic water supply from springs. The process of spring formation is through the groundwater table which intersects with the land’s surface.
Although, environmental degradation which happened because of the effect of climate change, changes in land use can be seen easily and as the resultant increase in water demand, together with climate change, pose a threat to this resource. Once the plots are sold off, the local residents lose access to the springs.
Appropriation of water
“The houses, mansions, apartment which are located in Mukteshwar and belongs to the outsiders, while on the other hand the small houses are belong to the locals”, says a local resident Letey Bhunga, who resides one of the village of Mukteshwar. Further he added that the lineman who takes care of water delivery has been bribed by the townies to release water to serve them. So that the lineman intentionally holds back the water supply and waits to be bribed. It gave major impact to local residents as they can’t afford the bribe amount in compare to the metropolitans as a result they couldn’t access water.
Another explanation has been given regarding the redistribution of water: “Issues need to be seen of urban edge water security in not only physical flows of water which flows from the peri-urban or rural areas to the urban.
Nowadays it is very evident to see that locals are increasing their reliability on the adjoining areas so that they can get water for their day to day necessities, especially in summers from Kosi river or from perennial streams via water tankers. Also, water is sold at prices varying from Rs. 3-5 a litre.
Climate change compounds pressure on water supplies
However, climate change is accumulating different kind of problems merging with other problems such as urbanisation and globalization which affect the water security of the residents of Mukteshwar. Local accounts stated that the intensity of winters is declining, snowfall and rainfall are reduced and the seasonal distribution of rainfall has changed –.While the demand side has shown an upward trend with higher demand for spring water, on the supply side there has been a reduction: as reduced precipitation decreased the recharge of the springs which led to a shift in the cropping and a harvesting pattern.