The State Government is determined to conserve the water resources of the State. In this regard, the Government has launched "Parvat Dhara" Yojna, to rejuvenate water sources and recharge aquifers. The scheme is being implemented by the Forest Department in forest areas with an expenditure of Rs. 20 crore.
The scheme is being implemented in 10 districts of the State, except Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti. Jal Shakti Department is working as Nodal Department under the scheme. About 2/3 of the land in Himachal Pradesh is forest land and 27 percent of the land is under forest cover. Therefore, Forest Department is playing a vital role in the implementation of the scheme. The scheme lays emphasis on rejuvenation of water sources that are on the verge of extinction. To provide irrigation facility in sloping fields, Forest Department has started construction of storage structures. Water conservation, construction and maintenance of reservoirs and management are also being done under the scheme. This would not only ensure rejuvenation of water sources but would also provide water for irrigation during summers.
In the year 2020-21, the Forest Department started work on pilot basis in 10 forest divisions, which includes Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Jogindernagar, Nachan, Parvati, Nurpur, Rajgarh, Nalagarh, Theog and Dalhousie forest divisions. Under the scheme, the cleanliness and maintenance of ponds in various places has been done. Besides this, construction of new ponds, contour trench, dams have been done, alongwith construction of check dams and retaining wall to control soil erosion.
The scheme aims to enhance water level by retaining water for maximum period. Besides this, efforts are also being made to improve the condition of flora in the state, for which plantation, especially of fruit bearing plants has been done. Expenditure has been made on cleanliness of forests and prevention for forest fires.
In the year 2020-21, the Forest Department has spent Rs. 2.76 crore under the scheme, which included construction of 110 big and small ponds, 600 various check dams and walls, 12 thousand contour trenches along with plantation.
The scheme would also be implemented in other forest divisions in the coming years and stress would be laid on soil and water conservation along with plantation.
It is important to maintain snow on mountain peaks to ensure continuity of water stream and to retain water in forest. For this, it is important to slow down the pace of ecological change. With plantation and forest conservation emphasis is being laid on soil and water conservation to retain the water sources.
I&PR, Himachal Pradesh.