India nationals: Consultant: Documenting best practices for revival of springs

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
New Delhi, DL, India
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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International Water Management Institute (IWMI) seeks applications from suitable candidates to undertake a short-term assignment under IWMI's project "Documenting best practices for revival of springs".

Project Background

Mountain springs are the primary source of water for rural households in the Himalayan region. For many people, springs are the sole source of water. For example, a major proportion of drinking water supply in the mountainous parts of Uttarakhand is spring based. Despite the key role that the springs play. They have not received their due attention and many are drying up. Spring discharge is reported to be declining due to increased water demand, land use change, and ecological degradation. With climate change and rising temperatures, rise in rainfall intensity and reduction in its temporal spread, and a marked decline in winter rain, the problem of dying springs is being increasingly felt across the Indian Himalayan Region. A survey in Sikkim found that the water production has declined in half of all springs in the State -a dangerous sign that aquifers are depleting in a State which is almost entirely dependent on springs for drinking water. Similar effects are being observed in nearly all the mountainous regions of India. Besides, water quality is also deteriorating under changing land use and improper sanitation.

The success of spring restoration and of the Springs Initiative hinges on the enthusiastic participation of all the entities concerned. Firstly, there are the communities that use springs. lt is important that they are convinced of the need to conserve their springs, understand how it is done, and are willing to assume responsibility for managing their springs. In most cases, therefore, the demand for spring restoration needs to come from such communities. The crises surrounding water necessitates that spring water management be taken up at the regional scale. The fact that some of the success stories have been led by a few State governments clearly demonstrates the important role that they can play in effective mobilization of resources and implementation of springshed management programmes. Such programmes have been participatory, involving local communities, NGOs, and implemented through a science based management approach. These efforts must be replicated by other States too.

Recognizing the urgent need for ensuring water security, the Rural Management and Development De­partment (RMDD), Government of Sikkim, conceptualized the Ohara Vikas initiative to revive the state's dying lakes, springs and streams. Estimates suggest that in mountainous terrain, less than 15% rainwater percolates down to recharge springs, while the rest is lost as surface water. The core thrust of Ohara Vikas is to catch this runoff water and use it to recharge groundwater sources. The primary objective of Ohara Vikas is to ensure water security by breaking the cycle of abundance and scarcity of water. While most of the spring revival approaches share some basic similarities -such as use of simple hydrogeology to demarcate recharge areas; watershed types of interventions in the demarcated recharge areas and varying degrees of community mobilization, there are also some differences in approaches. For example, spring revival in Bhutan, Sikkim and Meghalaya and West Bengal are almost entirely government led, elsewhere in the region such as Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and in Nepal, NGOs and international organizations played an important role.


Given that spring revival efforts have now been undertaken in several IHR states, it is important to under­take a stock take of the initiatives and existing learnings to document the best practices for springs revival which can be a ready reckoner for state governments for various models of springshed development ac­tivities.

Purpose of the Assignment

The objectives of this stock take assignment include:

  • To document the best practices in springshed management from the Himalayan region with focus on sustainability and scalability of the initiatives;
  • To develop a ready reckoner for state governments for various models of springshed develop­ment activities available so that the states may pick and choose to further explore there feasibility for application

Specific activities/tasks to be undertaken include:

Activity 1: Mapping and short listing of relevant initiatives/practices in reviving springs

  • This will include collecting and reviewing the existing documentation from various stakeholders about spring revival practices actually implemented in the field.
  • Identification of best practices based on desk review.

Activity 2: Verification and documentation of best practices and their impacts

  • Development and vetting of parameters for evaluation of field practices.
  • Field verification of best practices -The best practices should be physically verified in the fields during field visits to gather field-based evidences and have discussion with local key stakeholders
  • Documentation of the best practices


Scope of Work

Tasks related to interview of experts:

  • Finalise close ended questionnaires, and open-ended check lists for questions to be asked to experts on “best practices on spring shed management” in consultation with project lead.
  • Convert close-ended questionnaire into an online survey instrument by using available online resources, e.g. survey monkey.
  • Finalise the list of expert interviewees in consultation with the project lead and prepare a timeline and schedule for individual interviews.
  • Reach out to expert interviewees and book their time and maintain a calendar of interviews. Also manage the logistics of interviews in terms of setting up zoom/MS Teams links and sending those to the expert interviewees.
  • Join the project lead in these telephonic interviews, keep records of interviews, and then transcribe using voice recognition software like
  • Prepare detailed transcripts, and format them in ways that can be readily analysed using NVIVO qualitative software, under supervision of the project lead.

Tasks related to literature search and review

  • Do extensive online searches and reach out to experts for access to relevant reports and documents which are not available on the public domain
  • Archive them and save them properly for use in any Bibliographic software like Mendeley.
  • Also format them in ways that they can be easily analysed with software like NVIVO under the supervision of the project lead.
  • Wherever needed, summarise the documents and perform tasks related to literature review

Tasks related to fieldwork

  • Fieldwork is an integral component of the project and will be done, as and when possible, given COVID-19, and following full COVID-19 precautions like social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand sanitization, etc.
  • Accompany project leads on field work, and keep record of all interviews, transcribe them, and prepare comprehensive field notes.
  • Take high quality pictures of discussions, springs sites, etc.

Tasks related to finalising of report based on expert interviews, literature review and field work



  • Provide assistance to the project lead for writing specific sections of the report and contribute as per your expertise.
  • Ensure that the report is properly formatted, and all references/citations are in place.



  1. Transcripts of:
    • All online interviews with experts;
    • All field interviews, focus group discussions; key informant interviews
  2. Data based on all literature (journal articles and book chapters) and reports collected – saved, and named appropriately, and ready for Bibliographic software like Mendeley.
  3. Formatted final report to be shared with the donor (contribute to parts of the report; but the main task is to bring together various sections written by the project team, and to format and reference it correctly).
  4. Draft report based on desk review and stakeholder consultation on spring revival case studies and practices.

Your application must include a copy of your curriculum vitae, including details of previous experience, together with a cover letter and contact information of three professional referees who may be contacted, if you are shortlisted.

This is a nationally recruited position and only citizens of India are eligible to apply.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.


  • Masters in geology, or in any of the social science disciplines
  • Experience in working on spring related issues in the Himalayas
  • 1 to 2 years of experience, including field experience in the Himalayas
  • Knowledge of MS word, MS excel
  • Basic skills in GIS, managing bibliographic software like Mendeley, qualitative software like NVivo.