Noora walks past the Astan Nag, a local spring located in Burzhama area of Srinagar in Kashmir. She pauses for a while and starts walking towards the spring. Visiting it is a daily routine. “Its name is enough to define the sacredness of this spring,” she says while drinking a handful of water. Astan means shrine, and Nag refers to spring. Noora is among many in this area who still prefer spring water for drinking, over the water supplied to their homes.
Astan Nag is one of the 258 springs in the Kashmir valley that have been sampled by scientists at the Department of Environmental Science, the University of Kashmir, in a new study. According to their 2022 study, 87% of the springs have excellent to good water quality and can be used for drinking without any treatment, besides other domestic use.
It also revealed that the springs have reasonably large potential to meet the rising demands of the growing population in the region. However, the study also points out that human-induced activities such as “large-scale land use changes, massive deforestation in catchment areas, and infrastructural development besides climate change” threaten the springs in the valley.
The authors recommend that spring water sources in the Kashmir…