Communities in the Koshi Basin start developing local Water Use Master Plans


Under the Koshi Basin Programme (KBP), ICIMOD and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal initiated a collaborative action research to develop Water Use Master Plans (WUMPs) at the catchment level in selected districts representing three ecological zones of the Koshi basin.

The concept of WUMP is based on the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and seeks to improve access to water and ensure equitable distribution of water for improved livelihoods. It involves a participatory approach whereby local people prepare plans for water use for various purposes such as irrigation, drinking water and sanitation, agriculture and disaster reduction. The plans they develop are context-specific and based on their needs and priorities. ICIMOD and HELVETAS will  help them prepare master plans by providing scientific information, down scaled data and social mobilization. Once the communities prepare the plans, the team will also help them implement the project they have prioritized. The research is expected to cover more than 12,000 households from three districts of the Koshi basin. The lessons learnt will be documented and the concept will eventually be scaled up to the sub-basin and basin level through stakeholder dialogue between upstream and downstream VDCs.

The research team carried out field visits and interactions with relevant stakeholders to disseminate the WUMP concept. Field visits were made to Sindhuplachowk, Sindhuli and Saptatri districts, including a transect walk through selected VDCs. Meetings were held with Village Development Committee secretaries, Constituent Assembly members and other stakeholders. The team has collected the demands of locals from four VDCs in the Melamchi watershed of Sindupalchowk, four VDCs in Ghoksila watershed of Sindhuli and four VDCs in Mahuli watershed of Saptatri. In Saptari the team also participated in the periodic planning meeting of the District Development Committee. 

In this research, HELVETAS brings more than two decades of experience in local level planning while ICIMOD brings a wealth of scientific knowledge and expertise. It is expected that the WUMPs developed through this participatory process will ensure equitable and sustainable use of water resources as well as improve the adaptive capacity of communities in the Koshi basin.