Assessment Tools Manage Water Resources Better

KBP brings together practitioners and researchers whose countries share the Koshi River Basin — China, India and Nepal.

More than twenty water-resource management practitioners and researchers from China, In-dia and Nepal participated in a five-day training on the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) models organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) Koshi Basin Programme (KBP) in Kathmandu 29 February to 4 March 2016.

As Senior Advisor to Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA), Ajit Samaiyar. Samaiyar works with the government on disaster and water management related policies and his role is to make information clearer and easier to use for decision makers.

'We need to simplify knowledge sharing so that policy makers can find it useful’, Mr Samaiya said.

Samaiyar and KBP trainers introduced the capabilities of WEAP and SWAT tools to assess water availability and demand to support Koshi Basin’s management. Practitioners and re-searchers received hands-on training on WEAP and developed a working knowledge of SWAT applied to the Koshi Basin.

Gender expert Madhu Bala (Project Officer, Bihar State Management Authority), from Government of Bihar's BSDMA receives software training from KBP's research analyst Harshana Shrestha.

WEAP is a user-friendly software tool that takes an integrated approach to water resource planning. SWAT is a hydrological model, which quantifies the different hydrological processes in a catchment. These tools help to develop a knowledge base for assessing current and future water availability and security.

Rama Nanda Prasad Yadav, Director General of Department of Irrigation of Nepal was assessment of the software was positive.

‘The WEAP model is of great importance especially for those involved in water resource planning’, Mr Yadav said.

KBP gained experience using these tools in early 2013, when the team carried out a first-of-its-kind study on future climate change scenarios, water availability and possibilities for agricultural adaptation in Koshi Basin.

The results of these models showed available water in the Koshi basin is largely untapped and a huge potential to use water from the Koshi basin for both development and economic perspectives existed.

BSDMA's Senior Advisor Ajit Kumar Samaiyar with ICIMOD's Water and Climate Specialist Santosh Nepal participate in an interactive session. 

Water availability and basin-level demand research would benefit from using the latest tools. Shahriar Wahid, Programme Coordinator of KBP, said although tools were innovative, they're underused in water management planning in promoting effective and equitable water management in the catchment areas of Nepal’s side of the Koshi Basin. 

Scientific Officer Divesh Koirala of the Nepal Academy of Science Technology (NAST) said his team had been involved in the study of the hydrological system of Dudh Koshi and the train-ing was relevant to their work on future availability of water there.

According to Koshi Basin initiative’s research, a strong scientific knowledge-base on water resources within a river basin can be highly beneficial to harness the benefits of hydropower development, modernising agriculture, managing drinking water supply, in addition to im-proving navigational and ecosystem services. 

Suresh Maskey, Senior Divisional Hydrologist from WECS said the WEAP and SWAT tools are useful for flood and drought management systems, which directly relate to the livelihoods of the inhabitants. 

'The use of WEAP and SWAT helps us to make quick decisions on how to manage water supply and demand’, Mr Maskey said.