Integrated modeling framework for Koshi Basin


An efficient system for transboundary river basin management was the focus of the recent meeting of international and regional experts at ICIMOD Headquarters in Kathmandu. 

The gathering of experts deliberated the development of an integrated modeling framework for the Koshi River Basin from 18 through 20 June 2013.

Inaugurating the workshop, Director General of ICIMOD, Dr David Molden, highlighted the importance of water-related hazard risk reduction in the basin and the need for a regional approach to early warning systems to save lives and property downstream. 

“I request you all to think of ways to increase water use efficiency for livelihood improvements,” David Molden said.

Dr Peter Wallbrink, Theme Leader, IWRM of CSIRO said the workshop was a gathering of minds for developing an efficient system for transboundary river basin management. “We must achieve a genuine outcome that changes the livelihood of the people of Koshi Basin,” he said.

The three-day workshop, titled ‘Integrated Model Development’, was a follow-up to a similar session held in March 2013 where experiences and knowledge on integrated modelling framework for the Koshi Basin Programme (KBP) were shared. CSIRO-eWater Consortium is collaborating with ICIMOD to develop a robust integrated basin modelling system based on current best knowledge, data, and modelling practices. 

KBP, supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid), is an initiative under the River Basins regional programme of ICIMOD that works to enhance the regionally coordinated management of the Koshi Basin for the improved wellbeing of local communities and sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services.

The Australian ambassador to Nepal, H.E. Glenn White, said the AusAid-ICIMOD partnership should be helpful for people living in the basin. He said Nepal’s hydropower potential has been talked about for long but the potential remains to be tapped yet. He expressed his hope that Nepal would soon act on this and realize the full potential.

ICIMOD’s Dr Shahriar Wahid, Programme Coordinator of KBP, presented the 10 big questions related to the Koshi Basin Programme. The questions covered issues like impact of climate change, erosion and sedimentation, water-related hazards, water availability, and livelihood promotion. 

“People living in the foothills of water towers in Asia are fighting for their share of water every day,” Shahriar Wahid said. 

The Deputy Chief Executive of eWater, Dr Robert Carr, presented an overview on eWater and ‘Source’ – a modeling platform. He said that operationalization and integration would both be meaningful, resulting into sustainable outcomes. He talked about how community reacts to new information and research with a focus on the benefits of community approach modeling. 

The workshop set out a draft work plan for the next financial year. In the closing session, ICIMOD’s Director of Programme Operations Dr Eklabya Sharma highlighted the importance of hydropower potential in the Koshi Basin. 

Director General David Molden said ICIMOD greatly values the benefits of scientific collaborations across borders. He said the modeling was a part of bigger framework on the Koshi Basin Project and that everyone has been moving in the right direction.