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Developing guidelines for climate-resilient hydropower in Nepal




ICIMOD Headquarters, Khumaltar, Lalitpur

Date & Time

19 April 2024

Organisers: Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), Government of Nepal and ICIMOD


About the event

Organised in collaboration with the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), Government of Nepal, this workshop will discuss the current practices on climate risk management and future needs strengthen climate resilience in the hydropower sector of Nepal.

This workshop is part of the project “Generation of evidence and knowledge on the basin scale climate and environmental risks to the hydropower sector in Nepal (GEM-Nepal)” implemented jointly by ICIMOD through Action Area on Managing Cryosphere and Water Risks under the Strategic Group on Reducing Climate and Environment Risks and WECS and is supported by the Government of Norway.

  • Share learnings from the study on ‘hazards form changes in cryosphere and climate risk related to hydropower in the Narayani Basin of Nepal’ under the GEM-Nepal project
  • Discuss the current gaps and ways to strengthen climate resilience in the development of hydropower in Nepal
  • Exchange knowledge on guideline for climate-resilient hydropower development in Nepal and need for climate-resilient practices
About the project

The GEM-Nepal project aims to improve the understanding of risks associated with changes in the cryosphere, water availability, and climate-related natural hazards on hydropower. With this understanding, the project will develop a guideline for Climate-Resilient Hydropower in Nepal and contribute to International Hydropower Association (IHA)’s sustainability standard for hydropower development. The goal of this guideline is to generate and disseminate evidence and knowledge to support effective decision-making, policy formulation, and adoption of solutions to strengthen the management of the hydropower sector and inclusive mountain economies in Nepal. The project will also enhance the capacity of key national and local government institutions on climate and environmental risk assessment, specifically pertaining to hydropower development.


The hydropower sector in Nepal is facing several climatic environmental challenges. The changes in cryosphere, water availability and climate induced hazards pose a significant risk mainly in context of climate and environmental changes to the infrastructure in the river basins. In recent years, there has been an increase in extreme events resulting in major infrastructure and economic losses. The changes in glaciers, precipitation patterns and snow will affect hydropower production due to changes in the seasonality of river flows to increased variability of flows. Hazards such as permafrost thaw, Glacier Lake Outburst Floods, landslides, floods, sediments pose a significant risk to livelihoods, including to the energy sector and other dependent sectors. These hazards are changing and increasing due to climate change – the number of potentially dangerous glacier lakes is rising, which has increased risks for hydropower plants and other critical infrastructure.

Building on the competence in this area, ICIMOD has developed a robust climate risk assessment framework specifically tailored for hydropower development projects. Currently, it is being applied in the Narayani Basin of Nepal in collaboration with the WECS. The aim of this collaborative work is to support the development of guidelines for Climate-Resilient Hydropower Development in Nepal, thereby enhancing the sustainability and adaptability of hydropower projects in the face of climate variability and change.