Improving Nepali communities' resilience to climate-change related intensification in flooding and drought through Integrated Water Resource Management.
In Nepal, east of Pokhara, rural communities are sometimes unable to meet their daily water needs. With accelerated climate-change, rainfall is more variable, the dry seasons longer and monsoons more intense. This has long-term, adverse effects on agriculture. Consequently, communities living on hilltops are soon deprived of water during dry periods. Moreover, extensive urban development in the lowlands increases water demand, reducing the water resources available for upstream communities.
Farming villages are deeply affected by drought intensification. Solar lifting systems convey water to over 80-100 m elevation. However, these techniques are expensive and complex to implement and to maintain in Nepal's Mid-Hills.
Aquifers recharge is poor, with a large volume of precipitation running off into rivers and lakes. Extensive deforestation and poor soil cover compound this problem, intensifying the floods experienced on the plains.
When rainfall is abundant (June to September) aquifer's natural recharge is reduced; groundwater levels are falling, and springs are drying up. So they no longer provide a reliable water source for farmers and village communities.
Furthermore, women, young girls and elders often remain in villages, while men and young people emigrate to cities for economic and educational reasons. This reduces the labour force in rural areas. Consequently, the burden of collecting springs water becomes even harder for village women.
A 'Water Use Master Plan' (WUMP) approach is used to management water resource at the catchment scale. Communities and local authorities are involved throughout this process. A participatory, 3D mapping exercise is currently being undertaken to determine water flow through catchments, describe spring characteristics, understand environmental factors influencing services' resilience, and finally to define an integrated methodology for spring water management.