DFAT Energy Special Project


The DFAT Brahmaputra and Energy Special Project, supported by the Government of Australia under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), is promoting research, and generating and documenting knowledge about the extent of water and equity issues in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region. The project is addressing water issues by reviving springs and improving access to water for domestic and agricultural use in the regional member countries of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

DFAT Energy Project implements activities under two major components.

Impact assessment of SPIPs in the Nepal Terai

ICIMOD’s solar-powered irrigation pumps activity started in January 2015 under a grant from CGIAR’s WLE programme through a competitive bidding process. It proposed to undertake research on:

  • Understanding the demand for SPIPs under different financial packages for men and women, especially when additional financial incentives are provided to women farmers
  • Understanding  the impact of SPIPs on agricultural outcomes for SPIP owners

From January 2015 to December 2016, the WLE-funded project on Energy installed 53 SPIPs in the Terai districts of Saptari, Bara, Rautahat, and Sarlahi in Nepal.

The SPIPs are available for use under three financial models – Grant, Grant cum Loan, and Rent. An additional 10% discount is available for women farmers. The project also organizes regular trainings for farmers who have adopted SPIPs on growing off-season vegetables and establishing market linkages.

Through activities implemented to understand the demand for SPIPs under different financial schemes, the project has gathered adequate sample and data to evaluate the impact of SPIPs in agricultural outcome. It seeks to study the impact of SPIPs on improving gender empowerment, and work out ways to include landless, and small and marginal farmers and provide them the benefits of SPIPs.

SPIP information portal

The SPIP portal provides information on SPIPs, including the location of SPIPs sites, and tracks their performance. It is regularly updated and is being improved to link Remote Monitoring Units which will automatically track the performance of SPIPs. http://hkhhycos.icimod.org:8082/SPIP/

Mapping groundwater

The project will also explore local knowledge, collaborating with local well drillers and map groundwater in the Terai plains. Mapping groundwater will not only capture and document local knowledge, but also contribute to the planning and implementation of future groundwater pumping activities. It will help identify areas where groundwater is used and help determine the density of wells.


Benefit sharing in hydropower: Case studies from Pakistan and the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim

In 2015, ICIMOD worked with the Niti Foundation, a think tank based in Nepal on the issue of benefit sharing in hydropower in the country.

In 2018, the project will carry out similar studies to look at benefit sharing in hydropower in Pakistan and the three Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim.