Community members speak of change in perception

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On 14 July 2015, community members from the village of Dapcha in Nepal’s Kavre District gathered in a circle near a large pond called Daraune Pokhari to share their experiences from a recent springs and ponds conservation project. 

“We have changed the way we do things,” said one local resident. “Now we try holding on to run-off water on our hillsides as much as possible so that our springs are recharged.”

Australian delegates chat with a local resident, who fills water from the nearby spring in Tinpiple, Kavre

Photo credit: Munny Pradhan/NWCF

The farmers sat in an open field with representatives from the Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs (DFAT), Australia. DFAT supports ICIMOD’s Koshi Basin Programme. Three Australian delegates visited the Dapcha and Tinpiple villages – both in Kavre – as part of the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio Annual Health Check that took place in Kathmandu from 14-17 July. A number of ICIMOD staff and representatives from the project implementing partner, the National Water Conservation Foundation (NWCF), accompanied the delegates. 

In recent years, many springs in Kavre have been drying up. Hydrologists realized this was due in part to the decrease in the use of ponds, which help to maintain the groundwater that ultimately feed the springs. For the past year, NWCF has worked to increase spring discharge through the construction of new recharge ponds. Residents pointed to Daraune Pokhari and said they have noticed that the pond has helped keep the springs alive downstream on either side of the pond’s ridge. 

After the interaction session all the female participants and visitors gathered together for a  group photo

Photo credit: Farid Ahmed/ICIMOD

When the Australian delegates asked how the springs and ponds project had impacted their life, women spoke about the time before the pond was constructed, how they would wake up in the middle of the night to fill water from springs that had barely had time to recharge from earlier in the day. After the pond construction, the discharge in the spring increased, and their daily water access became much easier. 

However, after the earthquake on 25 April 2015, shifts in the ground caused some springs to dry up, while others have increased their flow. The women were eager to learn how they could capture the increased water coming from the springs. 

In Tinpiple, residents told the Australian delegates that water scarcity is a major issue in the area. However, with the help of NWCF, local youth have cleaned a concrete pond previously used as a garbage dump in the village’s market area, and converted it to a recharge pond. Further, NWCF installed rain gauges and thermometers in different areas to track rain and weather patterns. These instruments are maintained by the community, and have helped residents understand the importance of sharing the information gained from them with local farmers. 

The delegates were pleased with the progress that ICIMOD and NWCF are making in the area, and were supportive of future work. ICIMOD is encouraged by the positive response, and plans to out-scale the project to other parts of the Nepali mid-hills.