Back to news
16 Jan 2017 | Gender in Koshi

ICIMOD Initiative Helping Watershed Communities in the Koshi Basin Come Together

2 mins Read

70% Complete

In the floodplain Bakdhuwa village development committee of Saptari district, eastern Nepal, local communities often face challenges related to water and disaster management. Most of the communities there depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. They have been struggling to increase access to irrigation and drinking water even as they deal with regular flood disasters. Lack of water and flooding both impact their agriculture-related livelihoods adversely.

“Our problems will worsen if our communities fail to act together,” said local farmer Rekha Yadav. She is among several female farmers who are beneficiaries of the Water Use Master Plan (WUMP) initiated by the Koshi Basin Programme (KBP) at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and HELVETAS Intercooperation. They are helping local communities develop WUMPs in Saptari, Sindupalchowk and Sindhuli districts of the Koshi basin with support from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) through the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), South Asia.

WUMPs are locally prepared plans with five-year outlook strategies to ensure equitable water management, especially for women and the poor. ICIMOD and HELVETAS are using a river basin approach to help upstream and downstream communities work together on water and disaster management through the initiative. In December 2016, they brought together communities from four village development committees (VDCs) – Bakdhuwa, Jandaul, Mainakaderi and Lohajhara – to create a forum for discussing important issues at the watershed level.

Local community actively involved in designing Water Use Master Plans in Saptari with support of researchers from ICIMOD KBP and HELVETAS
Photo: Nilhari Neupane/ICIMOD

Usually, such water planning is limited to the VDC level. “It would be difficult to sustain water management if we focused only on our own VDCs. But I’m glad to know that we can now collaborate at the watershed level,” said farmer Ram Chaudhary. Over 20 participants from these four VDCs attended the workshop in December. A watershed level committee representing the local communities and VDC secretaries has also been set up.

Chaudhary and his fellow participants talked about how the planning workshop was a valuable platform on which to have interactions on common water challenges at the Mahuli watershed, which is shared by communities from all the four VDCs in Saptari, from both upstream and downstream areas.

During the workshop, researchers from ICIMOD and HELVETAS shared information on the advantages of watershed level initiatives. They discussed how WUMP members could play significant roles in generating discussions, and jointly plan and implement watershed related initiatives.

The participants said that the forum was a good start for forging a collaboration. They said that their top priorities included dealing with flood-induced bank erosion, rehabilitating the Mahuli irrigation system, and reviving traditional ponds and wells. Their first act will be to approach government authorities and NGOs to seek their support for planning related to resource and technical support.

“This was a good platform where we could resolve issues common to us and take a joint initiative to implement projects that are beneficial for all the VDCs,” said Yadav, who explained that women now have a good opportunity to participate in equitable water management at the Mahuli watershed level.

Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.

Sign Up

Related Content

Continue exploring this topic

3 Jul 2017 Himalica
Roadmap for Tourism Development of Bandarban Hill District Launched

Menon called on the private sector to join forces with the government to develop the country's tourism infrastructure around its ...

17 Aug 2018 HUC
Yunnan University Hosts Second HUC Water Group Meeting

Established in November 2017, the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) Thematic Working Group on Water (Water Group) is a regional initiative ...

17 Sep 2015 News
Environmental media training for NEPA officials and media representatives

ICIMOD and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Afghanistan organised a week-long Communication and Media Training on Environment from 24 to ...

27 Mar 2015 News
SERVIR-Himalaya takes satellite imagery technology to the grassroots

Community members learn to use satellite imagery for monitoring their forest More than 30 community members from Khayar Khola watershed in ...

8 Apr 2016 News
Himalayan Monitoring And Assessment Programme (HIMAP) Gathers Momentum

The Comprehensive Assessment of the HKH Region: Actions to Sustain a Global Asset, conducted as part of the larger Hindu ...

12 Oct 2015 News
Community led Micro planning training in the HKH

  A three-day regional Training of Trainers (ToT) on Community-led Micro-planning organised by the Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in ...

6 Apr 2016 News
MAIL of Afghanistan: Creating Stronger Collaborative Partnerships

The first stakeholder coordination committee meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) was held on 2 March 2016 at ...

17 Mar 2016 News
ICIMOD at the Mountain Futures Conference – Nurturing seeds for Change in the Anthropocene

An ICIMOD delegation participated in the Mountain Futures Conference: Nurturing Seeds for Change in the Anthropocene, held in Kunming, China from ...