Water Resource Development Background

The expectation that the people and the Government of Nepal alike have continually been showing from the country’s water resources for long as a means of long-term development and national wealth creation has been officially reflected in the national Water Resources Strategy (WRS), which mentions its water sector goal as “living conditions of Nepali people are significantly improved in a sustainable manner”. The Government has adopted WRS in January 2002 and it has also
prepared and adopted a National Water Plan (NWP), which basically contains various sets of action plans that need to be implemented in short-term (2002-2007), mediumterm (2007-2017) and long-term (2017-2027) strategy/plan periods to meet the strategic objectives and achieve outputs within those periods.

Nepal is considered to have abundant water resources with an average annual availability of 225 billion cubic metres of water in the form of rain and snow that
precipitate in country’s 147,181 square kilometres of area. However, there are great temporal as well as spatial variations in the availability and accessibility of water due to monsoon nature of the climate and also due to rugged topography. With this, the natural resource is bound to require high capital investment so as to be regulated and managed for utilization. The estimated cost of the entire NWP is NRs. 1,200 billions. The WRS/NWP period spans five five-year plan periods, i.e., 10th to 14th plans, however, as the current 11th plan is an interim one covering three years only, there will be a change in the number of periodic plan periods under the perspective water plan.

The water resources sector covers various uses of water such as domestic use, sanitation, irrigation, hydropower, industrial use, tourism & recreation, inland navigation, cultural use, environmental conservation, etc. Likewise, the agencies involved in the development and management of water resources sector are also numerous. Since the Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR) is responsible for the development and management of the resource in three sub-sectors namely- irrigation, hydropower and water induced disaster management under the sector, the present working paper focuses on the three only. Besides, NWP, being a reference document covering a 25 years of time span and the country’s current political transition, is likely to undergo modifications. The immediate focus would, therefore, be more relevant to the current three year interim plan (2007-2010); hence, the project/investment portfolio of the three sub sectors in the interim plan is dealt with in detail in the present paper.