The project "Rain Communities" aims to improve the resilience of Nepalese communities towards climate change. An improved water resource management at a watershed scale is being implemented to promote water infiltration.
In Nepal, in the east of Pokhara, rural communities are sometimes unable to meet their daily water needs. The effects of climate change and changes in rainfall patterns exacerbate people's vulnerability. Rainfalls are more variable,dry seasons longer and monsoons more intense, which has long-term adverse effects on agriculture. As a result, communities living on hilltops are quickly deprived of water during dry periods. These effects are exacerbated by the extensive urban development in lowlands, which increased the water demand and reduced water availability for upstream communities.
Dependent on rain for their crops, villagers are deeply affected by a drought intensification. The area has been provided with solar lifting systems that convey water to over 80-100 m in elevation. However, these techniques are expensive and complex to implement and to maintain in the context of underdevelopment.
In the mid-hills, aquifers do not recharge much as a large volume of precipitation is directly conveyed to rivers and lakes. In addition, massive deforestation and poor soil cover reduce infiltration, increase runoff and intensify floods in plains.
Aquifers then only replenish a portion of their reserves, when rainfall is abundant - June to September. This reduces natural recharge and it lowers groundwater levels over the long term. As a result, springs dry up.
In addition, women, young girls and elders are often left alone in villages. The emigration of men and young people to cities for economic and educational reasons reduces labour in rural areas. Thus, the burden of collecting water at springs becomes even harder for the remaining women in villages.
The "Water Use Master Plan" (WUMP) approach is conducted to implement an integrated management of water resources in the intervention area. Communities as well as local authorities are involved throughout the process. In order to understand the knowledge of communities in water management, a participatory 3D mapping exercise is currently carried out. This work will permit to determine water point locations, to describe spring characteristics, to understand environmental factors that influence services resilience, and finally to define a methodology for spring management.