The state of Uttarakhand comprises of two regions: Kumaon and Garhwal. Both of them are again divided into districts. The projects supported by HIMALAYA RESOURCES lie mainly in the districts of Tehri and Pauri within the region of Garhwal. Uttarakhand is often called the Land of God (Devbhumi) because of the many Hindu temples and pilgrim places which are there.
We can trace the environmental problems of Uttarakhand to the British colonial time (1858- 1947). Commercial felling of trees was introduced on a massive scale in that period. Mixed forests where replaced by a monoculture of commercially interesting pine trees (among other things for sleepers in trains). This had disastrous consequences for the local population. Contrary to broadleaf trees pine trees do not retain any water in the ground and the needles do not protect the mountains against sun, wind and heavy rainfall because of which erosion and floods occur on a big scale. The natural water sources dry up when the monsoon is over.
Uttarakhand is still an area rich in water. But water is not everywhere available and usable for the local population. In the monsoon rainwater flows unused from the slopes because there is no effective harvesting. Also a lot of water is polluted and cannot be used as drinking water. The main reasons are defecating in the open by animals and humans, fertilizations of agricultural land, no sewage and garbage system.
Original (pure) sources are often no longer in use. The water supply provided by the government is often of a very bad quality. Research carried out by our local partner HIMCON shows that at this moment 80% of the sicknesses in Tehri Garhwal are caused by polluted drinking water. HIMCON gives priority to the purification of drinking water, recovery of original water sources and the installation of eco toilets.