The first meeting of the Water Policy Lab (WPL) Consortium was held on 16 March, 2022 which covered a general overview of the WPL approach and how it can be used to solve specific water related problems. Currently, the core team members of Himalayan Spring WPL include experts with extensive experience in the water sector: Hemant Ojha, Basant Maheshwari, Basundhara Bhattarai, Roshan Rathod, Vishal Singh, Rajesh Thadani, Dharma Hagare, Jeff Camkin, and Vasudha Agnihotri.
IFSD has partnered with the Australia India Water Centre (AIWC) to apply the Water Policy Lab (WPL) approach as an effort to tackle the problem of drying springs in the Himalayas. WPL aims to bring together every stakeholder from local communities to researchers and policymakers together in a learning process to further co-produce knowledge for better solutions.
Roshan Rathod, fellow at IFSD started off by presenting the various findings from the past six years through her work experience in the water sector of the Indian Himalayan region. She highlighted the heavy dependence of the Himalayan population on springs to meet water needs, the rapid drying of springs, its impacts on the socio-cultural aspect of the communities, the efforts being made for spring shed management, the policy gaps, and opportunities for action both in practice and policy.
This was followed by an interactive discussion among the experts on the way forward to implement the water policy lab initiative to the geologically diverse Himalayan springs. The second meeting will tentatively be held in August 2022.