Small mountain towns in the Western Himalayan region of India continue to grow both in physical size and in population. These small mountain towns as well as the surrounding farming communities rely solely on snow and rain water runoff and reticulation of that runoff for all their water needs from drinking through to the irrigation of crops. The recent growth of these towns’ populations has resulted in their water infrastructure being placed under increasing pressure while endeavouring to cater for the needs of more people. This in turn places their water security at risk. As the strains on current water provision systems continue to grow, it is vital that the sustainability of these systems are ensured for current as well as future users.
The small mountain town of Rajgarh is situated in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.This town is home to just over 3000 people who’s water is supplied by a single, gravity fed pipeline approximately 18km long. This study was conducted to assess and evaluate the sustainability of this fresh water source, the current pipeline as well as the distribution system. Through conducting a baseline study of the town’s current supply and demand, while considering all the necessary elements for sustainable water provision, system leverage points were identified in order to determine where the largest positive impact could be made with the least amount of effort. It was established that currently the supply is meeting the town’s demand although the gap between the two is shrinking quickly as the town’s growth continues unabated. Similarly the source is not a high risk area provided that climate conditions and annual rainfall do not change significantly. However, system resilience in the supply pipeline is the main problem and in order to achieve complete water security, the supply to the town and surrounding region requires comprehensive but robust water infrastructure. This infrastructure must meet the demands of the current population while having the flexibility to scale and cater for the future demands of the town and the surrounding communities as they continue to grow.