A Draft  People’s Water Policy  for Uttarakhand

A Draft People’s Water Policy for Uttarakhand


Editorial Board

Suresh Bhai, Rajendra Dhasmana, Suresh Nautiyal, Dr. Ravi Chopra,

Raghu Tiwari, Bhuvan Pathak, Mukesh Bahuguna, Dr. Shamsher Bisht,

Manoj Pandey, Rohit Asthana, M.S. Vani, Dr. B.K. Joshi,

Prem Pancholi, Dr. Krishna Kumar Upreti, Dr. Atul Sharma


Himalaya Bhagirathi Ashram, Matli, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand -249 193, cont. 9412077896, 9411734789


  • Why A People’s Water Policy?

  • The Points Central to a People’s Policy on Water

  • The Policy

  • Devising a Strategy

  • The Other Important Points in the Policy

  • People’s Representatives and Institutions that

Participated in the Drafting of the People’s Water Policy

Why A People’s Policy on Water?

The livelihood of the people of Uttarakhand is solely dependent on the natural resources of the state.  This was an important stimulus for the struggle for a separate state as the people wanted control over access and use of their natural resources. There was a great desire and hope among the people that with the creation of a new state, the people of the Uttarakhand would themselves be responsible for the development and sustenance of its natural resources and reap the benefits by utilising it for the betterment of its populace.   This struggle culminated in the creation of Uttarakhand in the year 2000.

During the struggle for a separate state and after the creation of a new state was announced on 9 November 2000, people all over Uttarakhand held meetings and discussions to come up with a plan of development that the new state should follow so that the aspirations of its populace would be met.  An “Uttarakhand Document” was prepared following the deliberations that took place at these meetings.  The principle focus of the document was the Gandhian concept of Gram Swaraj.  The involved people felt that this was the best course to take so as to ensure a holistic development of the state.  The same was conveyed to the state government by the people.  The document expressed the view that any development for Uttarakhand should take into consideration the aspirations and needs of the people, but the government has ignored this document so far.  The Government of Uttarakhand is making no effort to either understand the feelings of its populace or to take steps that meet the needs of the general public.  It is content in recreating the systems and infrastructure that existed during the time the state was a part of Uttar Pradesh.

Only time will tell if the government will ever be sensitive to the aspirations of the people, as of now the direction of development being followed mimics the trend of imperialist globalisation that is being advocated by the central government.  Every policy on development being promoted by the state has fallen prey to this trend.  Even before a policy is formed the agents of Big Capital and market forces play a major role in shaping it.  That is to say that though the “pen” is in the hand of the government but the cost of the paper and the ink is being footed by somebody else.  Water is being privatised and we are now being advised to buy “bottled water” for drinking.  Profiteers are now eyeing underground water and the water used for irrigation.  The government has joined hands with multinational companies which are working overtime to gain control of the ever receding fresh water sources.  The government is in partnership with these companies which can’t see beyond their balance sheets and has abdicated its responsibility to the public.

Sustenance of water, forest and land resources are closely interlinked.   The forests of Uttarakhand have suffered extensively due to commercial felling of trees.  If the scarce water resources are sold and the people are denied direct access to them, then the dreams the people who had hoped of a “welfare state” will be shattered. 

As the reality of globalisation implants itself on the soil of Uttarakhand and the truth about its debilitating side effects is revealed; the efforts to find alternatives to this are also increasing.  It is of primary importance today to stand shoulder to shoulder with society that is suffering due to the process of imperialist globalisation that is taking place.  The livelihood of the common man is being destroyed by the actions of the process of “imperialist economic globalisation.  The environment is being threatened by it.  This process is encouraging consumerism on one hand and destroying popular culture on the other.  It is very important that we expose the machinations of such agencies and organisations: The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, Multinational and Transnational companies, etc.; that are accelerating this process and fight their designs with all our strength.

The people of Uttarakhand are extremely disappointed by the Draft Policy on Water that the government presented on 16th September 2003 and 12th May 2004.  On studying the policy it seems that the state government is making water into a commodity to be sold or exchanged.  The draft policy is also advocating privatisation of water resources and granting rights over them to private companies.  It is a cause for worry that the government is regarding water as national property instead of national natural resource that it is.  Social workers and voluntary organisations in the state, saddened by both the drafts are vehemently opposed to them and have declared them to be anti – people.   This draft People’s Policy on Water that we are presenting has been drawn up based on the needs and aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand.

The people feel that local resources should be the joint property of the community living in its vicinity and it should not be given to private owners.  Its management and use should be beneficial to the community as a whole and it should not be viewed as a commodity to be exploited for profit.  It is a major cause of worry that ever since government took over the management of forests, it started behaving as an owner and regarding the local community as trespassers on its property.  This led to an increase in exploitation, poverty and displacement of the people who are now forced to beg so as to be able to live.

The people of Uttarakhand owing to their special geographical circumstances have settled in and around areas which provide them access to rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.  The Draft People’s Water Policy has been prepared so as to preserve the traditional ownership of the people of Uttarakhand to their water resources.  The state government should support such initiatives by the people.  Therefore the Water Policy for Uttarakhand should be made with the Gram Sabha as the principle focus.  Moreover the any water policy should compulsorily ensure 50% partnership to women as it is they alone who are tackling the problem of water, fodder and wood on a daily basis. 

More than a thousand women demonstrated at the District Collectorate, Uttarkashi on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2004 over this issue.  After this a National Meeting was held at the Masihi Dhyan Kendra, Dehradun on 15th, 16th and 17th June, 2004 where the effects of globalisation on Land, Water and Forests were discussed.  A second meeting was held at Lakshmi Ashram, Kausani on the death anniversary of Sarla Behen on 8th July 2004 in which people’s groups and voluntary social institutions working in Uttarakhand prepared a Draft People’s Water Policy and also raised the demand that the state government give the ownership of the water resources of the state to the people of the state.  It was also said during the meeting that the state government should not mortgage its conscience and self – esteem and refrain from making anti – people policies that encourage privatisation, globalisation economy under a so called liberal economy.  Besides this the Himalayee Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan and Jal Sanskriti Manch launched a movement to carry the message of the meetings throughout the state.

The Draft People’s Water Policy was prepared by four working groups formed by the people who attended the meeting at Kausani.  It was fine tuned and given its final shape after four to five meetings of these groups at People’s Science Institute (PSI), Dehradun.  Around 150 people representing voluntary organisations working in Uttarakhand or as individuals participated in the deliberations that went into the writing of this draft policy.  The points raised by the researchers Rohit Asthana and M.S. Vani, given to us in English were seriously considered and included in the list of issues that were part of the draft policy.  The Hindi version of the draft of the Water Policy of the state government of Uttarakhand was given by the PSI to us.  If only the English version had been circulated then it might have escaped the notice of the active social workers working in Uttarakhand.   

This Draft People’s Water Policy will be useful in forming a people’s based combined management system on the issues of Land, Water and Forests in Uttarakhand.  We believe that this draft will get the moral support of government / non – government workers, agitators, the intelligentsia, people’s representatives and journalists working in Uttarakhand, but more work needs to be done on this issue.  Our colleagues in Jal Sanskriti Manch and Pani Panchayat are engaged in carrying the message of this draft policy to the people using meetings, padyatra, street plays and songs as via media.  The state government too is being informed of this by People’s Groups, People’s Movements and legislators.

 The Points Central to a People’s Policy on Water


  • Land, Water and Forests are interdependent natural resources. Any policy regarding one of them will have to involve the other two as well.

  • Land, Water and Forests are gifts of nature. They are to be regarded as natural treasure and our common inheritance. This outlook will add to the truth that land, water and forests are the very basis of life.  They are not commodities to be sold or exchanged.

  • The natural resources shall be owned by the local community. It is the community that shall decide the ways and means by which its local natural resources will be developed keeping in mind its local traditional and cultural knowledge of sustainability of resources.

  • The land, water and forest resources shall be under the Gram Sabha / local body whose vicinity it is in. The women will have a 50% representation in any committee that is formed for the conservation and management of the natural resources of its area.

  • The deeds of ownership of the land, water and forests of an area shall lie with the local Gram Sabha. The state government shall appoint facilitators / researchers who will be attached with each Gram Sabha and they shall gather information on land, water and forest resources.  Each Gram Sabha shall have a record estimating their water resources, its potential and data on recorded rainfall.  The village wise data on water resources shall not be provided to private parties seeking to gain commercial profit from it.

  • It is important that the local traditional culture and knowledge of conservation be used to maintain water the water resources of a community. This includes construction of tanks, ponds and pools, fencing, trench works, rain water conservation, planting of broad leaf trees, etc.  It will be prohibited to build cement walls for water conservation at a natural water source.

  • Methods and systems should be developed so that water resources at a given place are reused and put to multiple uses.

  • Areas around water basins and sources which are prone to earthquakes and landslides shall be protected from any human activity that may endanger their existence.

  • Hydropower will used for watermills, hydroelectric projects, lathes, etc. to generate income. They shall be set up in the form of micro – scale hydropower production units.

  • The cost of setting up micro units to produce hydropower shall be borne by the state government and the local community shall be ensured a share / partnership in it.

  • Besides running water the local community shall also have rights to the underground water resources in the locality. Restrictions will be placed on setting up of tube wells, hand pumps etc. in hill areas so that the underground water isn’t over exploited and it is conserved for posterity.  In the plain areas of the state tube – wells and hand pumps that provide water for drinking and irrigation shall be set up and run by the community or the local body and no private party shall be allowed to set up tube – wells.     

  • Keeping in mind the special geographical circumstances of Uttarakhand mega hydroelectric projects such as the Tehri Dam and Pancheshwar that can prove hazardous to human civilisation should be avoided at all costs. No dam higher than 15 metres should be built in the state and no project should exceed 10,000 hectares in irrigation potential.

  • No private or multinational company shall be allowed to acquire interests / invest in land, water and forests.

  • Keeping in mind the nature of continuous free water flow in the hills, water shall not be transferred from one water basin to another unless extremely necessary. Rain water will compulsorily be harvested at these places.

  • The Gram, Block and District Panchayats shall take decisions concerning the management, planning, and preservation of the flowing waters (rivers, rivulets, streams etc.) in their area.

  • All government departments dealing with water shall merge with Gram, Block and District Panchayats at their respective levels.

  • Water will be given free of cost to every living being.

  • Planning and Development of water basins shall be done keeping in mind the geographical, social and cultural factors. Every water body in an area shall have the local community as its main targeted consumer.

  • There will be no commercial feeling of rain forests. Selection of dried and fallen down trees for commercial use shall be done keeping in mind the nature of the forest in the watershed of the water basin and in consultation with the local community.

  • The state government shall research new techniques and technology for water conservation and harvesting and shall disseminate this information to the towns and villages in the state.

  • Canals and water channels shall not be constructed only for irrigation but shall also be developed and put to multiple uses by providing drinking water, running micro hydroelectric turbines, watermills, lathes and other such small enterprises. The old irrigation channels and canals shall be repaired and redesigned so that they too can be put to multi – tasking.  Similarly systems shall be developed and set in place for the distribution and making drinking water available to everyone.  Provisions shall be made with the objective of storing the overflow from agriculture, gardens, ponds and pools.

The Policy

A Unified Management System for Water Outlook:- Land, water and forests are interrelated and interdependent.  The departments looking after the main heads under which water is consumed namely drinking water; water for homes; for animal rearing; irrigation; water powered enterprises; hydroelectricity shall prepare policies for developing water resources, its usage and increasing its capacity and potential and shall also ensure that the policy is implemented in these key areas.

Restoring the State of the Eco – system:-  It is imperative to improve the state of natural resources in an area if the state of water resources in that area are to be improved, so two different approaches will be used.  The first will be based on the specific type of natural resource in question and shall have a predefined goal.  The second approach based on the nature of the source of water will concentrate on the conservation of the water resource. These will include solutions to rejuvenate water resources.  It will also focus on reducing the level of hazardous effluents in the water.  Efforts will be made to keep the snow at high altitudes free from pollution.  Efforts will be made at different stages to ensure that the quality of water doesn’t suffer and effluents are kept in check to make the water safe.  Maintaining the quality of water shall be made a part of the water management and delivery systems.  For this a phased programme shall be put in place.

Village Forests:-  All the Forest Panchayats shall be declared as Village Forests under section 28 of the Forest Ordinance/Act.   All rights and power to take decisions of these village forests shall lie with the Gram Sabha.

Water Conservation:-  Community land that falls within the area of a village including pastures, water front, etc. shall be under the control and management of the village.  These will be protected as their conservation is critical for the conservation of water resources and they shall not be misused. The right to control and manage community land falling at the edges of a small water basin shall lie with the Gram Sabha.

Boundaries of Water Bodies:-  Since revenue from land is no longer an important source of income for the state government therefore the existing revenue boundaries are no longer relevant. These boundaries should be freshly drawn based on the extent and size of the water basins.

Systemic / Structural Change:-  All departments that are related to water resources like Drinking Water, Jal Sansthan, Jal Nigam, Micro and small scale Irrigation, Irrigation, Land Conservation Directorate, Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, etc. shall be clubbed together and regarded as a Department directly dealing with water resources.  All these heads will be under the Gram Sabhas and Panchayats.  All departments dealing with water in any way shall be merged into the unified administrative management structure of the Gram, Block and District Panchayats at their level.

Drinking Water          :

  1. A minimum of 75 litres drinking water per person / domestic animal per day shall be guaranteed in villages and town areas.

  2. All aspects dealing with the management and delivery of drinking water in the urban and rural areas shall have the community as its focus.  They will be handled by the village panchayats and town councils respectively.

  3. Private and multinational companies shall be prohibited from investing in Land, Water and Forests.

  4. Study and research is necessary for planned management and conservation of water resources. Training will be provided to improve the technical skills for water management and conservation.  Institutions that are researching and innovating new methods and means of water management and conservation shall be consulted and information on the same will be collected from them.  Efforts will also be made to incorporate the traditional means of water harvesting, conservation and management practiced in Uttarakhand with the latest research.


Underground Water      :  The state government will gather information on harvesting and conserving underground water from traditional sources and the latest scientific techniques.  It will be mandatory for local administrative bodies to have information on the availability and quality of underground water in their locality so that there is controlled usage of this resource.  In hills with steep gradient and treeless slopes, usage of groundwater will be prohibited.  The local administrative body will have information on places where groundwater can be accessed easily.

Irrigation        :

  1. Local self-governing unit will plan, develop and manage all irrigation systems whether existing, under construction or proposed.

  2. These units shall have equal representation for dalits and women.

  3. These units will have the right to resolve any and all irrigation disputes that arise in their area. Nyaya (Justice) Panchayats shall be set up to settle all disputes that concern the whole water basin.

  4. Gram Panchayats shall seek permission from Block / District Panchayats (as the case may be) to levy a minimum water tax and shall be responsible for its collection. This money will be used to repair, maintain, etc. the irrigation system.

  5. Wherever self-sustaining farming is practiced, no water tax will be levied.

  6. Irrigation systems that have been built by the state government shall be owned by the local governing body wherever it lies in the area of its jurisdiction.

  7. Funds allocated for Irrigation shall be transferred to Panchayat Raj Institutions by the state government.

  8. Environment friendly techniques, small scale irrigation and water conservation techniques such as drip irrigation, spraying, irrigation channel systems, etc. shall be encouraged as applicable.

  9. The state government will study small scale canal / channel systems and provide irrigation solutions to farmers and agriculturists.

  10. New techniques will be developed and the area under irrigation shall be increased. Canals and water channels will be constructed not just for irrigation but shall be put to multiple use.  They will provide drinking water, power micro hydroelectric turbines, watermills, lathes and other small scale enterprises. Old irrigation channels will be redesigned and reconstructed or repaired so that the new design can incorporate multi – tasking.


Watermills:  An information directory of existing watermills in the whole state and their condition shall be prepared.  Based on this a Watermill Policy shall be prepared.  The Gram Panchayat / Sabha shall be empowered and these watermills will be under their jurisdiction.

Decentralisation and Integrated Organisational System for the Administration of Water Resources:

 Allocation of Rights:          The conservation of water resources and its control and management shall be the responsibility of the village level or town level governing body which shall have all rights and power over it.

Decentralised Organisational System for Panchayats and Community Organisations in the Area Covered by a Water Basin:                    Gram Sabhas and Panchayats will manage all aspects of a water resource. The Block Panchayat shall have the power to manage all aspects of micro and small water basins in their area.

 Planning:   Planning related to water resources shall be made at the level of each water basin.  Under this sub – plans shall be made for each Gram Sabha and micro plan shall be made for every village / majra.  The planning will flow from the bottom to the top.  Women shall participate in the process of planning and laws shall be framed ensure the same.


Voluntary Organisations:   Help shall be taken from Panchayati Raj institutions and voluntary organisations for the conservation and rejuvenation of water resources.


Decentralised Organisational Structure and Panchayati Raj Institutions:    Issues related to water resources of an area such as drinking water, domestic water usage, irrigation, animals, watermills etc. shall be managed by a committee set up by the Gram Sabha of a village in coordination with the other villages in the area.  This water resource management committee shall function under the Gram Panchayat.  This committee shall have a minimum of 50% representation reserved for women.  All decisions of this committee shall be taken only after consultation and discussion with the entire Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat will not revoke any of its decisions.  The District Panchayat shall be in charge of the planning and management of all water basinss (i.e. rivers, rivulets, streams, lakes, ponds, pools etc.) that fall within the boundaries of the district.


The Right to Decide Tax on Water: The Gram Sabha shall have the right to decide the Tax on small and micro water resources, ground water and forest resources that lie in its area.  The rate of Tax will be decided after consultation with the Water Resource Management Committee of the village.  The concerned Gram Panchayat shall have the right to collect this tax. 


Legal Reforms:       The laws dealing with water resources that are right now scattered under various heads shall be brought together collectively under a single new Act.  This new law shall recognise the traditional rights and management of water resources practiced in Uttarakhand and shall include suggestions from local communities in its execution and implementation.


Settlement of Disputes:      Panchayats and Water Resource Management bodies will be given the responsibility and power to arbitrate and settle all and any dispute that concern water, land and forest resources in its area of operation.


Rain Water Harvesting:       It will be compulsory for all buildings planned or under construction, private or public to have rain water harvesting systems included in their design.  The existing building laws will be amended to ensure this happens.  Large consumers of water will be charged a higher rate proportional to their usage. Any plan in the state, whether agricultural, forests, village development, water supply, irrigation, electricity, that envisages intervention in land management and usage will have definite budget allocation for incorporating rain water harvesting and conservation systems.  People who live in areas that face a scarcity of water will be given employment in programmes that prevent water shortages.  These programmes will include soil moisture conservation and enhancement.


Appropriate Technology:    Water resources shall be put to multiple uses and new techniques of ground water recharging de developed.  Traditional enterprises such as watermills and lathes will be re – established and production of hydroelectricity at micro levels encouraged.  Water will be conserved using traditional techniques of community reservoirs and roof based rain water harvesting systems, water spray techniques of irrigation will be practised (especially in places with low rainfall and in areas where soil nutrients may flow off because of the slope).  Such methodologies shall be implemented in a phased manner to increase the water resources and potential of the state for current usage and for the future.


Protecting Water Resources:          It shall be the duty and responsibility of the water user to ensure that any aspect (quality and potential) of the water resource is not spoilt in any way.   Besides the local governing bodies, it shall be the responsibility of the state government to conserve the sources of water in the state keeping in mind their importance to the environment.


Water and Forest Policy:    The government’s Forest Policy will also clearly include the conservation of water resources in it.  Different forests will have complementary water conservation strategies as applicable.


Water and Land Policy:      The government’s Land Policy will also clearly include the conservation of water resources in it.  It will also clearly state policy steps being taken for water conservation and its use.


Landslides and Flood Control:       Uttarakhand is prone to landslides that block the path of rivers and cause floods.  These slides and floods lead to large scale erosion of topsoil every monsoon.  They are also a hazard for settlements on the banks of rivers and rivulets.  To control them areas that are prone to such calamities will be identified and big construction work such as roads, buildings, other projects will be banned in these areas.  Rehabilitation of people affected by such calamities shall be carried out and they shall be resettled in a safer place.  Work will be carried out to increase the green cover in such areas and small check dams will be built to control the flow of water with the participation of the local communities so that the scope for disaster is minimised.


Resource Conservation:     To prevent the deterioration in the quality of water encroachment on the banks of the existing water bodies will be stopped and they will be protected from pollution under this policy.


Increasing Agricultural Land & Compulsory Consolidation of Land Holdings and Water Conservation:     Barren and deforested land shall be converted to agricultural land to double the area under agriculture at present.  These lands will have systems set up for rain water harvesting and conservation.  Effective consolidation and fencing of land holdings will be undertaken so that scattered fields of a farmer can be collectivised at one place and water and human resource are used optimally.


Research & Development, Training and Monitoring:           For economic and effective management of our water resources research needs to be encouraged and enhanced in the following areas so as to strengthen the knowledge base of community:


  • Traditional Knowledge & Skills

  • People’s Participation

  • Regional Parity

  • Environmental Impact

  • Water Conservation

  • Quality of Water

  • Recharging of Ground Water Resources and Water Harvesting

  • Sedimentation of Water Reservoirs (ponds, pools, tanks and lakes)

  • Snow and Lake hydrology

  • Surface and Groundwater Hydrology.

  • Capacity and Volumetric Analysis of water resources

  • River morphology and hydraulics

  • Estimation / Computation of Water Resources

  • Loss due to Evaporation and Seepage

  • Recycling and Reuse

  • Improvements toward better Water Management

  • Study of plantation of fast growing species of plants (such as bamboo, grasses, etc.) that retain soil and restrain soil erosion alongside agricultural crops.

  • Study of moisture and soil nutrients

  • Study of new construction materials and technologies

  • Study of seismological profiles and evolving earthquake resistant designs for construction

  • Long term durability and safety of water related projects and construction

  • Economic planning of projects for sustaining water sources

  • Anticipation of Disasters and their Management

  • Use of sensitive technology for management and development

  • Use of existing underground water sources as a source during emergency situations / their management

  • Effect of organs and agencies of the government and their processes on water resources

  • Documentation of People’s Science


Training:          The community and governing bodies will enhance its knowledge base and training procedures by exchanging amongst themselves the collective community traditional and non traditional knowledge and experience of land, water and forests.

Monitoring and Evaluation:      All programmes for developing water resources will have an effective and unified system of monitoring and evaluation that will function under the supervision of local governing bodies and shall evaluate the work carried out.

Devising a Strategy

Task Force:      Task forces will be set up to implement and monitor the policy which will work with and under the direction of the local governing bodies.  People selected for the task force will be representatives of important state institutions, workers of social organisations and experts in this field.

Public Strategy Council:          It will be continuously tried to improve and adapt the policy and its implementation through public strategy council at different levels.

Environmental Education and Awareness:       The people of the state will be made aware of the himalayan environment and ecology, about its water resources, its collection and importance of its conservation through education and public awareness campaigns carried out in various media.

 Conservation and Self Awareness:      The optimum use of water in multiple ways shall be encouraged and increased. Self awareness and sensitivity towards water conservation shall be taught to school children as part of their curriculum. 

Technology:     For the different physical and ecological conditions and situations that exist in the state, a series of technological solutions will be developed and provided for water conservation and transfer.

Development of Capability:      Steps will be taken to serially enhance the working and performance capability and efficiency of all institutions and organisations working for the improvement and management of water sources.

Information System, G.I.S. and Remote Sensing Systems:      It is essential to have a developed information system at state level for the development of the area.  A detailed and consolidated depository of information on water sources in Uttarakhand will be prepared and established.  This programme will be prepared with people’s participation at the lowest level.  The directory of statistics will include information on forest resources on which water resources are dependent.  The information system will be established from village level to the level of the state for Uttarakhand.  Along with the statistics on water potential, availability and use an extensive and acceptable estimation of water usage will be made.  Required information shall be gathered using Geological Information System (G.I.S.)   and shall be added and tested at three levels of village, block and district.  Information on water and other natural resources shall be gathered sing remote sensing satellites and systems.

Training and Development of Capabilities:       Once control and management is established over water sources, members of the local units among whom shall be included members of the user group and village level institutions and groups shall be trained and their capabilities developed so that they can plan, construct, develop and implement programmes to manage their resources better.  A part of the working budget shall be set aside for this training.

Monitoring and Evaluation:      Extensive monitoring and evaluation work of the partners in water resource management shall be carried out by Village, Block, District Panchayats and Town Councils. Where it is necessary, monitoring and evaluation shall be carried out by independent accredited institutions or agencies.

Review and Reform of the law: The policy will be discussed with all classes and sections of people in Uttarakhand for its implementation.  Moreover it is planned to review, over the course of the year all laws in Uttarakhand that pertain to natural resources and come up with steps to reform the law.

{Appendix -01}

The Other Important Points in the Policy


  1. Water is the product the earth and its vegetation.  It is crucial to understand and develop a view point for the present and future that water is not an independent entity but is symbiotically related to earth and forests.

  2. Water is a gift of nature (whether through rivers, streams, as underground water or rain); therefore it for every living thing on earth.  In this context all plans and policies should keep in mind that it is a resource meant for every being and no one can be denied access to it for any reason.

  3. Importance should not only be given to the physical and chemical specialties of water in the eco – system but it should be seen in the context of the entire environment.

  4. From a historical perspective the dalits have always been neglected socially and economically.  They will get equal rights to the water resources of the state in the future.

  5. Priorities          :

  • Drinking Water:–  Household use, Animals

  • Irrigation:–  To be used by Traditional Farming

  • Energy:– To be developed from water without causing damage to the environment

  • Biosphere:–  Areas with bio – diversity and moisture to be conserved 

  • To develop agriculture and cultivation of cash crops

  • Tourism and Pilgrimage

  • Ban on commercial felling of rain forests

  1. Electricity produced by micro hydroelectric units is to be used by the local community, after which it can be used for traditional agriculture and if there is surplus electricity after this, it may be used to fulfil demand elsewhere.

  2. Most of the agriculture in Uttarakhand is dependent on rain so such cropping patterns need to be introduced that consume less water and traditional mixed cropping that was once followed should be revived and encouraged.

  3. The state government will shape its role and involvement based on the concept of decentralisation of the planning, implementation and management.  It will also be the duty of the government to ensure that the community has a share and partnership in the conservation of their traditional natural inheritance i.e. rivers, lakes, streams, springs, ponds etc. 

  4. Water sources in Uttarakhand have been damaged or even destroyed due to large scale mining taking place in vast areas in the state. Large scale mining in the state should be disallowed and fresh permission shouldn’t be granted. Previously the local people used to undertake mining operations on very small scales and this never affected water sources in the vicinity. They made sure that their mining activities did not harm the water sources in any way.  So traditional small scale mining that was practised previously should be allowed but with the caveat that it in no way harms forests, land and water sources.

  5. Factories and industries pollute water sources by releasing poisonous chemicals (effluents) into them. The factories and industries that pollute the water shall be also responsible for cleaning it. The principle of ‘the polluter pays’ shall also be applicable in case of air pollution.  All these steps will be taken so that the local environment is not endangered.

  6. Activities which affect the areas which are the source for rivers, streams etc. and its environment should be prohibited.  If any such activity or person damages these ecologically sensitive areas then the local government / administrative body shall have the power to prosecute and punish the offender(s).

  7. Complete cleanliness and hygiene will be considered necessary for keeping water clean.  If this principle is not adhered to then water will become polluted.

  8. Before plans for agricultural development, industrial development and urban development are made it is important that the water availability and potential in that area is taken into consideration.

  9. The legislature should decide how the combined society can together work towards conserving and increasing our water resources and should have a clear viewpoint as to how this can be done with the collective participation of the public for the good of all.

 {Appendix -02}

People’s Representatives and Institutions that Participated in the Drafting

of the People’s Water Policy


Radha Bhatt (Laxmi Ashram, Kausani); Bihari Lal (Lok Jeevan Vikas Bharti, Budha Kedar); Suresh Bhai (Raksh Sutra Andolan); Dr. Ravi Chopra (P.S.I., Dehradun); Dr. Shamsher Singh Bisht (Uttarakhand Lok Vahini); Dr. B.K. Joshi (Dehradun); Manoj Pandey (Himalaya Sewa Sangh, Delhi); Dr. Atul Sharma (Jal Sanskriti Manch); Salil Das (P.S.I. Dehradun);  Kamalaram Nautiyal (Uttarkashi); Rajendra Dhasmana (Uttarakhand PUCL, Uttarakhand Chaupal); Suresh Nautiyal (Uttarakhand Patrakar Parishad, Uttarakhand Prabhat); Dr. Shekhar Pathak (Pahar); Raghu Tiwari (Aman, Almora); Jagat Singh Junglee (Rudraprayag); Bhuvan Pathak (Uttarakhand Lok Vidyapeeth, Kausani); Prem Pancholi (Jalkur Ghati Sandesh); Subhash Ramola (Himalayee Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan, Lambgaon); Kedar Bisht (Uttarakhand Van Adhyayan Jan Samiti); Karan Singh (Mahila Udhaan env Gram Vikas Sansthan, Bhramakhal); Baisakhi Lal (Jan Vikas SAnsthan, Chirbatia); R. Stephen (Sahara Christian Academy); Ganesh Khugshal ‘Gani’ (Senior Journalist); Vinod Pokhriyal (Journalist); Jaiprakash Pandey (Journalist, New Tehri); Vikram Bisht (Journalist, New Tehri); Govind Bisht (Journalist, New Tehri); Anandi Rana (Uttarakhand Himvanti); Pushpa Chauhan (Uttarakhand Mahila Manch); Shoban Singh Negi (Siddha, Mussourie); Vinod Kaphola (Jan Astha Manch, Kafnol), Sadan Mishra (Berinag Gram Swarajya Sangh); Kedar Singh Kunjwal (Parvatiya Gram Swarajya Sangh, Jayanti, Almora); Ramesh Krishak (Journalist, Bageshwar); Puran Bartwal (C.D.I., Rudraprayag); Meera Kaintura (Sambandh, Dehradun); Siya Singh Chauhan (Siddha, Kempty); Dwarika Prasad (Jaadi Sansthan, Kamad); Mohan Jogeela (Him Tarun Sanskritk Sewa Samiti, Uttarkashi); Nagendra Dutt (Tarun Paryavaran Vigyan Sansthan, Uttarkashi); P.C. Tiwari (Uttarakhand Jan Adhikar Manch); Suryaprakash (Gangotri Dham Sewa Sansthan, Chinyalisaur); Vijay Pratap (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, Delhi); Arun Kumar Pani Baba (Coalition for Environment and Development); Ambika Sajwan (Chairperson, District Panchayat, Tehri); Swaraj Vidwan (Member, Disrtrict Panchayat, Uttarkashi); Kushal Singh Rawat (Chairperson, Gram Shiksha Samiti, Khaladgaon); Dhoom Singh Rangad (Member, Block Panchayat, Tehri District); Shivraj Singh Rawat (Member, Block Panchayat, Tehri District); Kunvari Kalura (Member, Block Panchayat, Tehri District); Ganga Chauhan (Pradhan, village Dodag, Thapla); Murarilal Khadwal ((Member, District Panchayat, Tehri); Vishnupal Singh Rawat (Chairperson, Nagar Vyapar Mandal, Uttarkashi); Tota Singh Rawat (Social Worker); Vipin Joshi (Community Radio Centre, Almora); Vimla Nautiyal (Member, Block Panchayat, Uttarkashi District); Dr. Sudheendra Sharma (The Ecological Foundation, Delhi); Rajeev Lochan Shah (Nainital Samachar); Dr. Bhuvan Bhatt, Brahmanand Dalakoti (Uttarakhand Kranti Dal); Purushottam Sharma (CPI – ML); Govind Singh Mehra (Sarpanch, Uttarakhand Van Panchayat Sanghatan); Nain Singh (Almora); Mukesh Bahuguna (Social Worker, Rishikesh); Hemesh Pargain (Student Leader); Trepan Singh Chauhan (Chetna Andolan, Chamiyala); Narendra Bastar (Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam); Nityanand Joshi, Naval Joshi, Mohan Kandpal, Jeevan Chandra (Uttarakhand Kisan Sanghatan); Sandeep (Uttarakhand Lok Vidyapeeth); Jagdamba Prasad Raturi (Tehri); D.P. Juyal (Social Worker, Srinagar); Prabodhraj Chandol (Ped Panchayat, Delhi); Rajendra Gahtodi, Shashi Vishwakarma, Vineeta Nautiyal, Jagdeesh Bangarwal, Rohit Asthana, M.S. Vani (Member, Block Panchayat, Tehri District); Taradutt Pandey (Lok Chetana Manch); Shobha Behen Dharamghar (Pithoragarh); Nand Kishore Upadhyaya (Dwarahat Gram Swarajya Sangh, Ranibagh); Kundal Singh Chauhan ((Himalayan People’s Forum); Gopal Dutt (Ranibagh); Ratan Chand Rojhe (Himachal); Himla Uniyal (H.P.S.S., Lambgaon); Kanchan Bhandari (Vimarsh, Nainital); Ameen-ur-Rehman (Almora); Ranjeet Singh (Kirti Nagar); Gurucharan (Delhi); Ajay Bartwal (Dainik Jaagran, Dehradun); Praven Dandriyal (Amar Ujala); Sanjeev Kandwal (Journalist, Dehradun); Malati Singh (Sarokar, Dehradun); Sanjev (Dehli); Aranya Ranjan (Khadi); Naveen Nautiyal (Dehradun); Padam Joshi (Dunda), Kesar Singh Koranga (Pithoragarh);Virendra Kumar (Chirbatia); Mohan Chamoli, Ramesh Nautiyal (Uttarkashi); Jeevanti Devi (Member, Block Panchayat, Ukhimath); Kumari Sumanlata (Rudraprayag); Umesh (Nainital); Madhavanand Mainali (Nainital); Baalendu Joshi (Dehradun); Dwarika Bisht ((Mahila Mnach, Dehradun); Dr. B.P. Maithani (Dehradun); Umesh Sarkar (Delhi); Susheela Panwar (Member, Block, State Women’s Commission, Uttarkashi); Harpal Singh Negi (Narayan Bagad); Bachi Singh Bisht (Pithoragarh); Vijaypal Singh Rawat (Naugaon); Ranveer Singh Rawat (Member, Block Panchayat, Naugaon, Uttarkashi); Ghanshyam Singh (Pauri Garhwal); Vijaylakshmi Gosain (Pauri Garhwal); Rani Devi (Udham Singh Nagar); Shanta Devi (Udham Singh Nagar); Gayatri Devi (Udham Singh Nagar); Surendra Singh (Pauri Garhwal); Basanti Devi (Chamoli); Maya Negi (Nainital); Devidutt Joshi (Pithoragarh); Tara Devi (Nainital); Shyam Singh Pathani (Pithoragarh); Anju Kathait (Nainital); Sarojini Rawat (Pauri); Kamal Singh Rawat (Utarkashi); Daan Singh Bisht (Nainital); Dr. D.K. Thapliyal (Pauri); Dr. KrIShna Kumar Upreti (Rishikesh); Bachi Singh (Nainital); Bhupal Singh (Pithoragarh); Jeetendra Pant (Bageshwar); Anil Kishore (Chamoli); Bhagwan Singh (Pithoragarh); Vinod Kumar Mishra (Udham Singh Nagar); Susheela Bisht (Rudraprayag); S.K. Bhartwal. Abha Singh (Dehradun), Kalyan Singh (Chakrata); Bachi Singh (Chakrata); Pawandas Arya (Chakrata); S.S. Rawat (Chakrata); Dinesh Godiyal (Dehradun); R.R. Phurtado (Vikas Nagar); Deepika Gosain, Vidya Jeena (Dehradun); Devendra Budakoti (Dehradun); Pushpa Bhatt (Dehradun); Vinod  Kumar Bhatt (Dehhradun); M.S. Hayat (Dehradun); Prithviraj Chauhan (Dehradun); Anand Anil (Vikas Nagar); Amit Kumar (Dehradun); Rakesh Aggarwal (Dehradun); Meera Rawat (Dehradun); Bhupendra Singh Rawat (Dehradun); Santosh Kumar Pasi, Pushpalata (Dehradun); Sureah Khayal (Rudraprayag); K.N. Tiwari (Dehradun); Sanjay Joshi, Bharat Petwal (Pauri); Naveen Bhatt, Rekha (Dehradun); Rajesh Barathwal, Raju Pushola (Dehradun); Vijay Singh Rawat, Bihari Lal Shah, Virendra Prasad Bhatt (Uttarkashi); Usha Negi, Prema Rawat, Lakshmi Devi, Abha Panwar (Tehri); Rashmi Painiuli (Badoora, Tehri); Jaya Bisht (Dehradun and all the thousands of people of Uttarakhand who joined and participated in the meetings and demonstrations that helped us draft a People’s Water Policy for Uttarakhand