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19 Feb 2020 | News

Addressing water stress in Ramechhap

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Ramechhap District in Nepal is plagued by acute water paucity. Desertification and haphazard development activities have caused traditional ponds and springs to go dry. To make matters worse, reduced and irregular rainfall, decreasing groundwater levels, and extended dry periods have drastically decreased agricultural productivity. These changes have very tangible impacts on people’s livelihoods and wellbeing.

A team of representatives from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Forests and Environment, conducted a preliminary field visit to Ward 7, Manthali Municipality, Ramechhap, to explore ways to improve groundwater health and increase water availability and accessibility. The study area covers two micro-watersheds: Dhude Khola in Bhatauli village and Thedi Khola in Mugitar village. These two rivers drain into Bhatauli Khola and Tamakoshi River, respectively.

The team identified 72 water bodies in the study area. Among them, 42 were mapped out in the Dhude Khola and Thedi Khola watersheds and categorized into the following: 1 well, 1 water collection tank, 10 running springs and baseflows, 12 dry springs, 15 dry ponds, and 3 ponds with water.

The team identified two pathways to improve water availability in Ramechhap. First, applying hydrogeology, recharge zones need to be identified to control surface runoff and enhance infiltration. Second, rainwater harvesting should be implemented in every house.

 

This well was recently dug along the banks of Bhatauli Khola to supply drinking water to the community after springs in Dhude Khola (513 masl) started drying up.
An unmanaged traditional pond in the Thedi Khola watershed. Very little water accumulates in the pond from surface runoff.
A well intended for drinking water in disrepair and polluted.
A water storage tank with dry, barren land in the background.
An abandoned pond in the Thedi Khola watershed. The pond’s area is being encroached upon.
A dry spring in Thedi Khola watershed.
Haphazard road constructions impact groundwater health.
A local resource person pointing to a dried up spring.
Road excavations at the hilltop of the Dhude Khola watershed leave its groundwater reserves vulnerable.
Basic field accessories for geological assessment (geological hammer, compass, in situ water quality tester, topographic map).
Measuring the roof area to estimate how much rainwater can be harvested from each house.
Geological observation of the outcrop.
Water bodies and boundary map of the Dhude Khola and Thedi Khola watersheds.
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