Bhutan’s First Spring Revival Test Site in Lholing Village, Paro

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Many residents of Lholing have been forced to abandon their village and migrate because of acute water shortage. The majority of Lholing’s springs are now completely dry; only two still discharge some water. 

The Watershed Management Division (WMD) of Bhutan’s Department of Forest and Park Services, the Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are working together to pilot a spring revival and springshed management programme at a site in Lholing. 

Members of the joint scientific investigation team conduct local-scale geological mapping to understand the hydrogeology of the springshed.

Several rounds of joint scientific investigation were carried out in Lholing to understand the hydrogeology of its springs and devise means to revive them. A six-step spring revival protocol was applied during the joint investigation. The team successfully mapped and identified the recharge areas of the springs and recommended appropriate groundwater recharge interventions. It also conducted focused group discussions with community members to understand the probable causes for the drying up of springs.

Based on the findings and recommendations of the joint field investigation, WMD has started implementing initial spring recharge activities in Lholing in consultation with villagers. WMD is also collecting additional data on forest-related interventions and updating partners and stakeholders about the recharge activities being undertaken. It is also conducting regular monitoring of springs to derive meaningful conclusions from the revival project.

ICIMOD will continue this technical collaboration with WMD and share knowledge on spring revival and springshed management during the implementation phase through field visits. Using Lholing as a model site, similar approaches will be scaled out to other sites in Bhutan.