Research Crucial to Irrigation Development in Nepal

   TwitCount
Irrigation canal in rice field of Sindupalchok district. Irrigation needs high priority in Nepal.
Photo: Juerg Merz

Research on Nepal’s irrigation sector should be a priority of the Government of Nepal, irrigation experts said during the national irrigation seminar held 10-11 June in Dhulikhel, Nepal. The event was organised jointly by the Department of Irrigation (DOI), Government of Nepal in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI/Nepal) and the International Network for Participatory Irrigation Management (IMPIM) Nepal. 

The annual national seminar had more than 90 participants. Among those in attendance were Energy Secretary Dhana Bahadur Tamang. The theme for this year's event was 'Irrigation development and management: Learning from the past and planning for the future.' Key issues discussed were the need to thoroughly review past achievements for future planning and the need for more research within the irrigation sector. 

Fifteen selected papers were presented in five technical sessions on irrigation challenges and governance, inter-basin transfer, research priorities in irrigation and gender issues. One of the discussions included federalism in irrigation given Nepal's relevance to the state restructuring into federal governance system.

Several infrastructures built in the past have become vulnerable as they were constructed without clear understanding and without consideration of any climate change scenario, or hydrological and socio-economic components. Experts said this lack of planning was of concern and the DoI needs to prioritise research and could benefit from knowledge institutions like ICIMOD and IWMI by using evidence-based scientific research for planning and implementation. Research findings would be instrumental to the National Irrigation Master Plan.