The Political Economy of Water Security, Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods in the Western Himalayas

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

This project aims to study the ways in which small towns in hill and mountain regions of South Asia depend on springs, streams and rivers in their surrounding catchments for the supply of water. Current infrastructure planning processes for water supply in low income countries tend to focus on the needs of large urban settlements, or of rural areas, and the needs of small towns are often overlooked or neglected. Small towns (defined as those with populations below 100,000 people) are particularly important in hill and mountain regions of India and Nepal because they have grown very rapidly, with little planning for infrastructure needs more generally, and for water supply in particular. Across the region, almost half the urban population in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and in the hill regions of Nepal, live in small towns. These towns also tend to be relatively resource poor, lacking the revenue and resources available to larger settlements, and their populations and settlement patterns usually display peri-urban and semi-rural characteristics, making infastructure planning and provision particularly challenging.

The project will work in a selected set of small towns in the two Indian states, and in the hill regions of Nepal. It will undertake an assessment of the hydrological dependence of these small towns on water flows from the surrounding landscape, and identify areas that are critical to securing these water flows ('critical water zones'). The project will study existing patterns of resource and land use in these critical water zones, and the range of ecosystem services that flow from these areas to meet the needs of local and non-local stakeholders. This will allow an understanding of the synergies and trade-offs associated with managing these areas to secure water supply for the towns, in relation to their potential use for other livelihood and resource use strategies.

The project will work directly with local government officials, and local communities in both urban and rural areas in these towns and their surrounding catchments, to explore the possibility for negotiating agreements that protect these critical water zones, without adversely affecting livelihood options for upstream residents. The project will also explore, where appropriate, the possibility of compensation based mechanisms to offset costs associated with changes in resource and landuse patterns undertaken by upstream communities in order to secure water supplies in these catchments.

The learning from this project is particularly important for understanding the ways in which urban and rural areas interact with each other in the context of flows of ecosystem services. The hydrological dependence of small towns on their surrounding ecosystems provides the potential for negotiated agreements that secure water supplies to these towns (especially the urban poor), while also ensuring secure livelihoods for upstream local communities, and protecting and enhancing a range of other ecosystem functions in the surrounding watersheds. This project will explore the conditions under which such synergies can be realized, while also exploring and highlighting the trade-offs and difficult choices that characterize decision making in such contexts.

Planned Impact

BENEFICIARIES FROM THE RESEARCH: The key beneficiaries from this research will be:
(i) Local stakeholders in each of the project sites, including village and town populations living in and around the project areas, government officials, local researchers, civil society actors, as well as downstream users of ecosystem services. These local stakeholders will specifically benefit from project-generated knowledge about ecosystem based interventions for providing sustainable supplies of water and other ecosystem services from local watersheds in the mountain regions surrounding small towns in the Western Himalayas.
(ii) Policy makers in India and Nepal, who will benefit from project insights about the potential for ecosystem service based interventions to deliver pro-poor livelihood strategies for both urban and rural residents in catchments surrounding small towns, and the potential of zoning as a strategy for the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation;
(iii) Civil society and non-governmental organizations, engaged in the water sector, town planning, and environment and development activities in India and Nepal, who will benefit from project learning about the roles of ecosystem service based interventions for water and livelihood security;
(iv) The broader South Asian academic community working on issues of ecosystem services and human well-being, as well as water security for urban areas, because of the new knowledge generated by the project, as well as research techniques developed, and new databases produced;
(v) The international academic community, which will benefit from project outputs detailing key findings, and highlighting the role of ecosystems in supporting water security and livelihoods in rural and semi-urban montane environments in low income countries; and
(vi) international decision makers, including donors (both bilateral (DFID), and multilateral (the World Bank, GEF, Asian Development Bank)) and international organisations (such as IUCN and UNEP), who will potentially use project findings to inform sectoral and country strategies for the use of ecosystems for securing urban water supplies to small towns, and for addressing livelihood needs (especially in montane environments).

The project partners have considerable experience in promoting the uptake of their research, having been funded over the last decade by projects from DFID's Natural Resource Systems Programme and Forestry Research Programme, and from the ESPA Programme, amongst others. The PI, Dr Vira, is leading an ESPA-funded Research Into Use project, which is specifically focused on reviewing the experience of how research findings are put to use in a range of related sectors; he is collaborating closely with the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy (http://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/), which exists to promote engagement between academic researchers and policy makers in government and the business sectors. He is also centrally involved with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (http://www.conservation.cam.ac.uk/), a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and conservation organizations which allows direct opportunities for influencing conservation practice across a wide range of field locations across the world.

Both CEDAR and SIAS have close engagement with local policy communities in the region, and will ensure that there is significant stakeholder engagement with project findings. Prof Singh (CEDAR) has held senior advisory positions at state government level in Uttarakhand, and continues to play an influential role in policy dialogues. Mr Agarwal has worked closely with the Himachal Pradesh government, and with the Ministry of Environment and Forests in Delhi. SIAS convenes the Nepal Policy Research Network (http://nepalpolicynet.com/), which has been established to facilitate the research-policy dialogue. Dr Ojha has also worked with the DFID Research Into Use Programme.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Pani, Pahar Collaborative Webpage around Water and Urbanisation Research in the Himalayas 
Description We have developed and launched a website www.panipahar.com as part of our Impact Accelerator Award. The site collates not only our own research outputs, field sites and process, but establishes a regional platform for other researchers working on water and political economy through the Himalayas. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The website brings together researchers from a wide range of fields engaged in water and urbanisation issues across the Himalayas. This is a fantastic networking opportunity as well as information sharing platform for the broader public. 
URL http://www.panipahar.com
 
Title Pani, Pahar Photography Exhibition 
Description Launched at the Festival of Ideas in October 2017, our photographic and essay collaboration with photojournalist Toby Smith summarises and documents our ESPA research across our six field sites. The exhibition is a 'traveling' one, with events in Edinburgh, Kathmandu and Delhi until June 2018, with further stops planned at the small towns that composed our fieldsites. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Our exhibition has been hugely popular locally and through its online home at www.panipahar.com; in the course of the exhibitions, many thousands of people will see and read about water and urbanisation issues in the Himalayas. 
URL http://www.panipahar.com
 
Title Pani, Pahar exhibition: Visual Arts Gallery, Delhi 
Description The project team secured funds for a photographic exhibition and online archive of images, to stimulate public engagement and dialogue on the issue of water scarcity in the Himalayas. The exhibition, Pani, Pahar was curated in a leading gallery in Delhi (the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre), in April 2018, along with curated images in the Delhi Metro (at one of its main station exits). 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The physical show in one of Delhi's premier cultural and intellectual hubs, the India Habitat Centre, is estimated to have reached at least 5000 visitors over one month. India Habitat Centre (IHC) is the hub for a number of NGOs, government organisations, donors and international organisations (https://www.indiahabitat.org/institutions), and the work was displayed in the Main Atrium. The Visual Arts Gallery has confirmed the engagement of c.200-300 individuals per day who visited the exhibition, in addition to the casual footfall of c.5000 employees who work in organisations in IHC. Engagement in Delhi has been most extensive through the presence in the Jor Bagh Metro Station, where the exhibition was visible for a period of three months, March-June 2018. The work was displayed across 3 billboards and 16 smaller prints in the Jor Bagh metro station in Delhi, in a prominent position in the main access stairs and corridor. Jor Bagh metro has an average footfall of c.25,000 passengers per day. Jor Bagh Metro Station is to Delhi as Westminster Tube Station is to London, servicing commuters working in key positions in government and research think tanks - especially the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The work has been featured, with very positive reviews in India's leading newspapers and magazines, in both print and online versions - details are provided in the press link (https://www.panipahar.com/articles/press-clippings/). Publications include the Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Live Mint, The Daily Pioneer The Asian Age, India Today, The Week and Down to Earth. 
URL https://www.panipahar.com/
 
Description This project focused on the dependence of small towns in the Himalayas (in India and Nepal) on their surrounding natural ecosystems for the sustained supply of water, and the tradeoffs associated with managing these landscapes to provide for the water needs of rural and urban residents of this region. In six towns that were the focus of our case studies, we conducted research on both up- and downstream communities to understand the nature of their dependence on ecosystems for their water needs, and for other services. The water needs of each of the six towns were identified by understanding current availability and distribution. In each town, the project focused on the issue of 'critical water zones' - the sources which were most important for the delivery of water. The project team identified the key threats to critical water zones in each case study location, and explored the range of options available to mitigate these threats. In each case study location, impacts of zoning and protection for up- and downstream communities were documented. In two of our case studies, Palampur and Dhulikhel, there were pre-existing formal arrangements for reciprocal watershed agreements between up- and downstream communities. These were explored from a political economy perspective, to understand the differential impacts of these arrangements on different stakeholder groups. The project demonstrated the continued dependence of these small towns on locally available water resources, and the vital importance of the need to consider ecologically-smart ES-based alternatives to current trajectories of unplanned and uncoordinated urbanisation, coupled with unsustainable engineering solutions to growing infrastructure problems.
Exploitation Route The project's findings have contributed to policy dialogue in both India and Nepal, and have drawn attention to the important interdependence between small towns in the Himalayas and their surrounding rural watersheds. In India, our project partner CEDAR is taking forward our findings to contribute towards a state-wide water management strategy for the state of Uttarakhand, while also continuing work at site level in our two case study towns, Nainital and Mussoorie. In Nepal, our project partner SIAS is working with the Mayor of one of our case study towns, Dhulikhel, and with the associated water management institutions to develop more sustainable long term solutions, while also remaining active in the wider policy dialogue around watershed management for urban drinking water needs across the country. Both organisations have developed considerable capacity for policy and research engagement in this field as a direct result of collaboration on this project, and are (in turn) working independently with key policy stakeholders, donors and others to develop these insights into policy relevant interventions. We are also contributing to a wider public discourse on these issues through our exhibition and our legacy website, Pani, Pahar.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://www.panipahar.com/
 
Description The project has stimulated discussions and conversations around nature-based interventions for water security in the Indian and Nepal Himalayas, and has drawn attention to the importance of investing in the maintenance of critical water zones in the region. This impact is largely led by the project partners, CEDAR in India and SIAS in Nepal. Both these organisations are now active in post-project activity, supported by new sources of funding, and are actively translating project insights into advice, support and advocacy. Research on ecosystem services and urbanisation in the Himalayas has raised awareness about the impacts of human activities on water security in the region. In the lakeside town of Nainital, the research team supported local citizens in a public interest litigation to protect their water source from illegal construction and encroachment. On 27.08.19, the Uttarakhand High Court issued final orders in the case, requiring the cessation of all unauthorised construction, and the removal of encroachments from the identified recharge zone. In Nepal, the team has engaged with muncipal leaders in the case study towns of Dhulikhel and Bidur, and extended learning to an additional site, Dharan. Public engagement activities have included a prominent exhibition on water issues in Delhi, Kathmandu and the UK in 2018, and a school curriculum on water resources released to Indian schools in 2020.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Dharamshala Smart City Project
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Ecosystem-based approaches to forestry management
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Our research partner, Mr Chetan Agarwal, has been advising the HP Forestry Department over the past decade. Findings from previous projects and the current ESPA project have led to the adoption of a Payment for Ecosystem Services Policy at the state level. Mr Agarwal is also advising protected area managers in relation to the identification of critical water zones (CWZs) within national parks and sanctuaries in the state of HP.
URL http://hpforest.nic.in/files/PES_Policy%20Notification-5-11-2013.pdf
 
Description Future of Nainital lake consultation
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact As a result of the meetings with State heads, CEDAR collaborated with UNDP and organised a largescale stakeholder meeting with IIT, government organisations and Citizens of Nainital. The purpose of the workshop was to develop some practical and feasible long- and short- term recommendations to conserve and save lake Naini. The workshop was Chaired by Honourable Governor of the State of Uttarakhand, Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of the State and citizens coming together for policy formulation for the city and lake Naini. The work arising from the workshop contributed to the ongoing Public Interest Litigation around the future management of Naini lake.
 
Description HP Forest Department catchment protection policies
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description HP Irrigation and Public Health Department catchment protection and source sustainability
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Influence on public interest litigation, Nainital
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Research on ecosystem services and urbanisation in the Himalayas has raised awareness about the impacts of human activities on water security in the region. In the lakeside town of Nainital, the research team supported local citizens in a public interest litigation to protect their water source from illegal construction and encroachment. On 27.08.19, the Uttarakhand High Court issued final orders in the case, requiring the cessation of all unauthorised construction, and the removal of encroachments from the identified recharge zone.
 
Description Kavre Valley consultations with Municipalities
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact SIAS has been recognised by local Municipalities in the Kavre Valley, Nepal, as a reliable and informed technical knowledge provider for evidence based planning and policy making. As a result, the SIAS research team have contributed to vision policy documents during 2017, such as Kavre Valley Drinking Water Supply Project policy documents and the Roshi watershed management plan.
 
Description Participation in Public Interest Litigation (PIL) case at Nainital
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact There has been an ongoing Public interest litigation case at the High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital concerned with the local urban development of the town and its surrounds. Our work has sought to input directly into the documents and sources consulted in this case, which we have achieved directly through the expert workshop convened in April 2015 and the outputs that arose. Our research attention and combined public engagement activities have led to heightened public awareness of the ecological linkages between Sukhatal and Nainital, whereby the local authorities have commenced water drain clearances, and halted urban development with regard to water flow impacts. This is an ongoing issue that our local partner, CEDAR, will carry forward beyond the ESPA research period.
 
Description Rejuvenation of Sukhatal recharge zone
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact The project has worked to develop support for investment in Sukhatal lake in Nainital, to rejuvenate the recharge zone for the town's main water source; this has included support for a public interest lawsuit, media articles and a citizen group. The Uttarakhand state government has released 30 million rupees (just under US$500,000) for this purpose.
URL https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/revive-sukhatal-for-naini-lake-survival-suggest-ex...
 
Description Cambridge ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: Exploring water and urbanisation in the Himalayas: photography and place schools project
Amount £8,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Cambridge 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description Cambridge Humanities Research Grant
Amount £18,500 (GBP)
Organisation University of Cambridge 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 07/2017
 
Description ESPA Fellowship
Amount £127,440 (GBP)
Funding ID FELL-2014-103 
Organisation Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 10/2016
 
Description ESRC IAA GCRF
Amount £13,800 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Description ESRC Impact Acceleration Award
Amount £13,600 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Description IDRC: Climate Adaptive Water Management Plans for Cities in South Asia
Amount $923,900 (CAD)
Funding ID 108212 
Organisation International Development Research Centre 
Sector Public
Country Canada
Start 04/2016 
End 04/2019
 
Title Bidur local drinking water institutions 
Description We gathered over 200 household surveys and formally interviewed all local community water institutions at Bidur, Nepal, generating a comprehensive dataset on water access strategies and practices. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact We are currently developing research findings from this database. 
 
Description Schools materials from Pani, Pahar research 
Organisation Hearth Advisors
Country Ireland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution 'Pani Pahar - the Water Curriculum' was jointly developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Hearth Education Advisors. It is designed for students between the ages of 9 and 15, and is now freely available to students, teachers and schools. The aim of the curriculum is to engage students in experiential learning and to instil in them a sense of responsibility towards water conservation.
Collaborator Contribution The curriculum has grown out of 'Pani, Pahar - Waters of the Himalayas', a collaborative research project between the University of Cambridge, The Centre for Ecology Development and Research in India (CEDAR) and Southasia Institute for Advanced Studies in Nepal (SIAS). The curriculum aims to help students understand water resources and sustainability and how these are impacted by climate change. The detailed lesson plans encourage reflection and research on the human causes of water scarcity, and some of the effects of environmental change on humans and our shared resources. It also helps students understand the meaning of activism, recognise some of the challenges associated with activism, and begin to associate activism with the needs and issues of their school. The curriculum has three sets, one for each level, each involving a 10-hours contact time with the students. The curriculum is targeted at students of junior, middle and senior level.
Impact This activity focuses on converting the materials available at the project's legacy website, https://www.panipahar.com/, uses the images from the exhibition and research materials into a school level education curriculum for school in India, is underway. An ESRC IAA follow on fund has allowed Cambridge University to work with the India-based educational consultancy, The Hearth Education Advisors (http://thehearthadvisors.com/), to develop these resources, and to promote them within the Indian school's network. At present 6 schools have indicated that they would like to use the curriculum which is aimed at junior, middle and senior students. The resources are free to use and download, available at this link: https://thehearthadvisors.com/our-work/our-services/pani-pahar-the-water-curriculum/
Start Year 2018
 
Description Spring regeneration and catchment protection partnerships in the Himalayas 
Organisation International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Country Nepal 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are supporting our partners in wider networking activities across the Himalayas, in relation to catchment protection and spring regeneration.
Collaborator Contribution Ms. Nuvodita Singh attended a workshop on Springs organized by ICIMOD under their Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative, in Gangtok (Sikkim). The workshop focussed on the importance of using hydrogeology in spring conservation programs and other research projects concerned with springs.
Impact No specific outputs/outcomes, but there is considerable interest in exploring synergies between the work programmes of several organisations that are active in the region. These are multi-disciplinary conversations,involving geo-hydrology, forestry, climate science, political economy and policy sciences.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Barefoot Walk Protest 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our local Indian partner CEDAR helped to co-organise a civil protest, a "Barefoot walk" around Naini lake at Nainital, one of our fieldsites, to highlight the plight of Naini lake as it experienced the greatest decline in its water levels in living memory. Over 1000 people participated; senior CEDAR colleagues organised the walk and were very prominent in media coverage and presentations throughout.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Blog on Dhobighat at Mussoorie 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact One of our research assistants at CEDAR, Nuvodita Singh, published a blog called "Dhobighat: Lives in a Time of Change" that engages with the development of water issues at our Mussoorie case study site.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://himalayawater.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/dhobighat-lives-in-a-time-of-change/
 
Description British Ecological Society Annual Conference 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited contribution to a panel on Ecosystem Services for Human Well-being: Achievements and Future Research Directions. Bhaskar Vira presented findings from this ESPA project: " The political ecology of ecosystem services for poverty alleviation"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BES-Programme-2016-web.pdf
 
Description Conference on Local Water Management: Challenges and Opportunities in an Era of Change and Uncertainty 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Several communities in Nepal have been facing acute water scarcity in recent years. Especially after the Gorkha earthquake in April 2015, problem of water security has become more severe in the earthquake affected districts. Water sources such as springs and streams fulfilled the domestic water purposes of people but these have disappeared or significantly declined. Urban areas have been suffering more due to water insecurity caused by rapid population growth and climate change leading to decline in the water sources. Further, management and governance of water resources i.e. accessing and distribution of quantity drinking water has become a daunting task for towns that are rapidly urbanizing. The newly elected local governments facing these challenges lack the strategies necessary to deal with these growing problems and ensure a sustainable supply of water. There are several studies, innovations and technologies that are emerging to help cope with the situation. However, these initiatives are fragmented and there aren't substantial efforts made at gaining a better understanding of the problem or developing innovations. This conference brought the key stakeholders into a single platform where research findings, experiences, ideas and innovations on water management and governance were shared and debated upon. The conference also provided a deliberative platform for dialogue among state and non-state actors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.sias-southasia.org/past-events/
 
Description Dhulikhel Water Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Arising from project work directly related to our ESPA research, CAMPS, through our Nepali project partner SIAS, who have established a loose knowledge platform named the 'Dhulikhel Water Forum', locally as Dhulikhel Pani Chautari, through the leadership of Dhulikhel Municipality and facilitated by SIAS. The purpose of the forum is to regularly discuss developing water issues and needs with local water stakeholders and community institutions. The forum meets around monthly, or as required, and is a direct development of the original ESPA work and the local connections established from 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description ESRC Festival of Social Science: Photography Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An informative photography exhibition by environmental photographer, Toby Smith, exploring the dynamic landscapes and escalating water crises of the Indian and Nepali Himalayas. The exhibition was part of the 2019 ESRC Festival of Social Science, and was on display at Lansdown Hall Gallery in Stroud between October 29 and November 4, 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://esrc.ukri.org/public-engagement/festival-of-social-science/
 
Description Expert Committee Workshop, Dhulikhel, Nepal 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This expert panel convened a multidisciplinary taskforce made up of local and regional experts in socio-ecological systems, change, hydrology, engineering, and journalism. The aim was to better integrate a multidisciplinary understanding of the linkages between up- and down- stream water users, in a context where change is rapidly occurring across both contexts, including significant changes to upstream land use. The meeting resulted in formal workshop outputs, and inspired continued similar engagement at this site. A publication around the process is in preparation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Expert Committee Workshop, Mussoorie 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We convened a group of local and regional experts on ecosystem services, hydrology, geology and social sciences in order to discuss the current knowledge, data needs and plans at Mussoorie, one of our case study towns. The purpose of this meeting was to pilot the potentials of bringing together, capturing and formalising local expertise around these issues. We produced a booklet summarising the points of discussion at the workshop, which was distributed to local policy-makers, media and research partners. This has contributed to the ongoing debates around how Mussoorie should develop its water infrastructures to cater to its growing demand.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Expert workshop on geo-hydrology of Sukhatal 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On April 9th & 10th, 2015, Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR) hosted a two day workshop entitled "The hydrological connectivity and geological forms between Sukhatal and Nainitalanthropogenic pressures and implications" in Nainital, at Vikram Vintage Inn, Nainital. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together experts of hydrology, geo-hydrology & geologists to review the existing information, physically inspect the site and to deliberate and develop expert opinions on: i) The hydrological and geological forms and connectivity between Sukhatal and Nainital; ii) the significance of these; iii) the impact of different anthropogenic activities on the lake bed and its catchment as well as on its recharge capacity to Nainital; and iv) the impact of artificial pumping on the underground water reservoir, and
effects on the holistic Naini system. The recommendations from the workshop were widely reported in the local media, and were used to inform an on-going Public Interest Litigation suit in the Nainital High Court.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Future Himalaya Dialogue, Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We were invited to participate in a British Academy-funded workshop that brought together a range of practitioners from NGOs and research organisations working on environmental issues in the Himalayas. Through the event research insights, outputs, experiences were shared with the aim of co-developing and identifying research needs in the Himalayas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Impact Workshop for Research Stakeholders and Partners (Delhi) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In November 2016 we convened a workshop for all our research partners and select stakeholders from the 6 case study towns in which we work, to review our research over the past three years and to plan impact pathways and future scenarios. The meeting was highly collaborative and gave rise to impact plans for each site, the exchange of applied experience across the Himalayas, and a synthesis of research outcomes from across our body of work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Local administration in Nainital 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Vishal Singh was requested to share insights from the project, and from the expert group workshop convened by the project, in relation to the importance of Sukhatal in relation to the sustainability of Nainital's water supply by the District Magistrate, Nainital. He provided evidence in the form of the expert workshop report, and consensus recommendations, and sent him a formal letter sharing project findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Media blog: A Tale of Two Lakes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Vishal Singh, Rajesh Thadani and Bhaskar Vira wrote a short piece for the local newspaper, Garhwal Post, outlining the project's insights in relation to the connections between Sukhatal and Nainital lake, and the importance of protecting the catchment of Sukhatal for securing water supply to the town of Nainital.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Media blog: Struggle of a Small Town for Water by Ngamindra Dahal 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Online blog to stimulate policy discussion on water security issues in Nepal and the wider Himalayan region.

Blog resulted in further ongoing dialogue on these issues in Nepal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://spotlightnepal.com/News/Article/Struggle-of-a-Small-Town-for-Water-Ngamindra-dahal
 
Description Media blog: Time to rethink community based approach to resource management (Hemant Ojha) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Hemant Ojha published a blog in a Nepali digital newspaper, based on project insights.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://setopati.net/opinion/5790/
 
Description Media blog: Water security Changes lives of women (Tikeshwari Joshi) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Tikeshwari Joshi published a blog on the website of the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists, based on project findings in relation to gendered outcomes from community water management in Dhulikhel.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://nefej.org.np/
 
Description Media blog: Water security: Lessons from Nepal on sustainable management and adapting to climate change (Hemant Ojha) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Hemant Ojha published a blog, based on project findings, on the ESPA wesbite.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.espa.ac.uk/news-events/espa-blog/water-security-lessons-nepal-sustainable-management-and-...
 
Description Media reports on Nainital research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Three reports have appeared in Hindi language newspapers in Nainital, the focus of one of our case studies. These provide a background to the research issues, the role of our research team, and the potential impacts of our findings. The reports are available via the weblink below.

The issues that our team is researching have profound local resonance, and are the subject of an on-going public dialogue in the media and in the courts. These reports have further stimulated these conversations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://himalayawater.wordpress.com/media/
 
Description Meeting on Himalayan ecosystem services organised by MOEF, India and ICIMOD, August 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Chauhan, Dr Thadani, and Chetan Agarwal participated in a meeting on Himalayan ecosystems organized by ICIMOD and the Mountain division of the MoEF in August, in Dehradun. Ongoing plans for the project were presented by Chetan Agarwal, and sparked an interesting discussion.

Follow up contact continues with the Mountain division of India's Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Membership of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Water 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Following a decision by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) agreed to initiate and coordinate a global scientific assessment on "forests and water" in the frame of the CPF's Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative, starting from January 2017. The ultimate goal of the new assessment is to produce an up-to-date scientific synthesis report and associated policy brief on the topic by mid-2018. The assessment aims to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by connecting SDG 6 on water and SDG 15 on forests, thus illustrating the cross-sectoral contributions of forests to the various SDGs. The study will provide input to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and its session in 2018 and is of particular relevance for the 13th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF 13) in 2018. Professor Bhaskar Vira is a member of the Panel, and is a Coordinating Lead Author for the assessment, drawing on work supported by this ESPA project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/forests-and-water-panel/
 
Description National level Workshop on Knowledge and Policy on Water and Landslide Hazards in Post-Earthquake Nepal on 6th July, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SIAS hosted a national level Workshop on Knowledge and Policy on Water and Landslide Hazards in Post-Earthquake Nepal on 6th July, 2015. The workshop was jointly organized by Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management. Director General of the Department, academicians, research institutions and civil society actively engaged in the workshop facilitated by Hemant Ojha. SIAS leveraged insights from ESPA funded research, particularly on water, during the discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.sias-southasia.org/past-events/half-day-workshop-2/
 
Description Newspaper article to Nepali Headlines on Dhulikhel 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Kaustuv Neupane from SIAS Nepal published a newspaper piece "Dhulikhels' Struggle for Drinking water" at Nepali Headlines, a widely read online media outlet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nepaliheadlines.net/dhulikhels-struggle-for-drinking-water-25193
 
Description Panel discussion at the World Economic Forum at Davos, 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Cambridge Conservation Initiative hosted an event at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, exploring the role of nature in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. The panel discussion and round-table took place in the SDG tent, bringing together business leaders, academics and conservation practitioners to share their insights on developing nature-based solutions that reverse the loss of biodiversity at scale. The panel was chaired by Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and himself a prominent thinker on human rights and environmental law. Professor Bhaskar Vira was a speaker at this panel discussion, focusing on the role of the natural world in delivering the UN's SDGs, with a particular focus on new measures to better reflect nature's contribution to sustainability, as well as to health, equality, justice and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXQ7LB3h8l0
 
Description Photo essay in The Guardian 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Based on the photographs taken for our exhibition at our field sites (Pani, Pahar), The Guardian invited us to provide images and text content for a photo essay which was published online on 27 December 2017. The Guardian has one of the highest digital media footprints globally, so this publication is likely to have been viewed widely across the world.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/dec/27/sacred-life-affirming-fast-disappearing-w...
 
Description Piece for ESPA Research Blog: Hemant Ojha 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hemant Ojha, founder and research lead at SIAS Nepal, published "Water security: Lessons from Nepal on sustainable management and adapting to climate change" at the ESPA outreach blog.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.espa.ac.uk/news-events/espa-blog/water-security-lessons-nepal-sustainable-management-and-...
 
Description Popular article (blog) to The Conversation - 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We published a blog on the popular site The Conversation titled "How the UK and India can lead the development of ecologically smart cities", which was timed at the same time as the UK-India Technology Summit in Delhi in November 2016, and our own research workshop in Delhi.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://theconversation.com/how-the-uk-and-india-can-lead-the-development-of-ecologically-smart-citi...
 
Description Presentation: Political Economy considerations in the implementation of reciprocal watershed agreements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact ESPA organised an open evening event on "Rewarding environmental stewardship: New thinking on its role in development policy", to discuss the relevance and applicability of ESPA approaches to environmental management and development with a broad audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.espa.ac.uk/event/rewarding-environmental-stewardship-new-thinking-its-role-development-p...
 
Description Republica Newspaper article - Whose Water? by Kamal Devkota 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Kamal Devkota, a Research Associate at SIAS-Nepal, published a newspaper article "Whose Water?" in The Republica, a Nepali English-language daily newspaper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=87287
 
Description Roshi watershed management plan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Individual meetings were held with government officials in Dhulikhel (DDC Kavre, District Soil and Water Conservation Office, Kavre and Dhulikhel Municipality) to explore potential collaboration for helping to prepare the Roshi Watershed Management Plan in Dhulikhel site.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Stakeholder Forum on Drinking Water at Bidur 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A stakeholder forum was convened for around 35 people at Bidur, Nepal, in January 2016, in order to canvass local people's perceptions, experiences and needs of their current drinking water access and strategies, as well as to communicate some of our research findings at that point in time. The meeting furthered local engagement with our research and focused our data gathering in the final research period.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Stakeholder consultation on water security: Bidur 10.09.14 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact District government officers, social and political leaders, water user committees, representatives from upstream communities participated in this stakeholder consultation.

Stimulated further thinking on water security issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Stakeholder consultation on water security: Dhulikhel 25.07.14 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact District government officers, social and political leaders, water user committees, representatives from upstream communities participated in this stakeholder consultation, to share knowledge and information.

Stimulated further thinking on water security issues in Dhulikhel.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Workshop on Water Security, Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods in the Western Himalayas 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We convened a workshop in Delhi, November 2016, to promote and disseminate our research, to generate critical discussion around water management and futures in the Himalayas, and to draw in expertise from other relevant initiatives. Over 50 people attended our event, which gave rise to valuable discussions around linking research processes and outputs to policy and decision-making.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016