Nepal’s plentiful water resources require careful management to ensure equitable use across the many competing demands of water users.

The challenge

Understanding how much water is available in Nepal

Integrated water resources management requires agreement and understanding of the amount of water available, the demands that are made on this water, and how water resources can be best shared to ensure that the livelihoods of people and functioning of ecosystems are sustained. CSIRO is working with partners in Nepal, particularly the Koshi and Kamala basins to use integrated water resources management principles for sustainable basin planning.

Nepal’s plentiful water resources require careful management to ensure equitable use across the many competing demands of water users.

The people of the Kamala Basin in East Nepal have a long history of dealing with too much water in monsoon and limited water in the dry season. Meeting the desire to increase agricultural production, develop local industries and support mining, needs careful planning and sound management. A similar problem exists in the Koshi Basin with clear mismatch between water availability and demand.

Our response

Gathering data to assist in basin planning

In the Kamala Basin, CSIRO is building knowledge about the surface water and has supported revisions to rainfall station locations, developed new gridded rainfall products and refined hydrological models of catchment runoff. Leading to better understanding of the timing and availability of water in major streams, including projected changes to water availability due to climate change.

Working with local modelling experts, CSIRO has improved models of the Kamala Basin hydrology. In addition to providing a quantitative representation of historical and current water resources this model can be used to explore the likely water-related consequences of future development and climatic scenarios.

The results

Sharing the benefits of water

Using a participatory planning process CSIRO and partners are identifying the water needs, priorities and aspirations of different sectors and stakeholders in the Kamala Basin. The state of the basin report for the Kamala Basin provides information on the current condition of water resources in the Kamala Basin, including how water is used, water quality and trends in how the water resource is changing.

Using a multi-criteria assessment process to assess differing priorities and objectives, assists stakeholders in understanding crucial decisions, trade-offs and easy wins in the scenario development process. Proposed development actions for water planning aim to maximise the benefits and minimise negatives.

About SDIP

This work is part of a portfolio of investments supported by the Australian Government addressing the regional challenges of water, food and energy security in South Asia.

The SDIP Phase 2 aims to improve the integrated management of water, energy and food in the Himalayan river basins, addressing climate risk and the interests of women and girls. It seeks to:

  • strengthen practices for regional cooperation
  • generate and use critical new knowledge to enhance regional cooperation
  • improve the regional enabling environment for private sector engagement.

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