Clean energy – hydro, solar, biomass and wind – is abundant in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. With rising temperatures set to make farming – which provides one fifth of the region’s GDP – harder than ever, it’s crucial the sector embrace renewables’ potential to transform yields, food security, and to transition away from polluting energy sources. ICIMOD and partners are working across the region to turbocharge this important shift.


Agriculture in South Asia is highly susceptible to climate change and its variability.

The IPCC has projected 0.88–3.16 °C rise in temperature by 2050 in South Asia.

  • This long-term change in temperature and precipitation patterns will worsen impacting agriculture in the long run.
  • Given that 80% of the population in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region depend on agriculture for livelihood, they will face the brunt of the impacts of climate change.
  • Communities in the mountains are already seeing falls in crop diversity, productivity, and food security.
  • ICIMOD’s landmark scientific assessments provide evidence on the scale of the region’s vulnerability to these risks.



The agriculture sector relies heavily on intensive energy.

  • Agriculture contributes 18% of the total GDP in the South Asian economy.
  • While farming’s energy consumption is minimal (less than 4% of the region’s total consumption), up to 90% of that use is through fossil fuels.
  • There is already a huge focus on building the resilience of farming to sustain lives and livelihoods in the region as temperatures continue to rise.
  • It’s crucial this work harnesses the extraordinary potential of renewables — found in abundance in the Hindu Kush Himalaya in the form of hydropower, solar, biomass, and wind — and supports farmers to transition away from fossil fuel use.
  • Renewables could hugely lighten farmers’ load.



The estimated combined renewables potential of the HKH is about 3,500 GW.



The productive use of renewable energy (PURE) is the badge for global efforts to support income, productivity, and livelihoods through access to sustainable and affordable energy services.

  • Examples of PURE systems include:
    • pump systems for irrigation to provide access to ground and surface water during dry seasons, boosting food production.
    • cold storage systems can extend food shelf life and reduce farm losses by 30 to 40%. In the absence of adequate cold storage, globally around 14% of food produced is lost between the post-harvest and retails stages of the value chain.
  • Agri-milling, processing, and other machinery can increase crop yield and efficiency.



The PURE Platform 1 and 2 on Assessing irrigation sites powered with micro-hydro and Potential RE demand for irrigation in Nepal are innovative digital platforms specifically designed to revolutionise renewable energy demand planning for irrigation in Nepal, especially in the mountain regions, developed by the ICIMOD and AEPC.



Renewable energy has the power to make farming fit for the future

Accelerating investment in renewable energy is essential to unlock its full potential
to drive agricultural productivity and advance sustainable development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

Identifying market opportunities for RE integration in the agriculture sector
by bridging knowledge and data gaps.

Understanding the context to tailor customized solutions for the mountains and hills
to scale the productive use of renewable energy.

Prioritizing the integration of renewable energy in agriculture-related policies
to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts on food security and livelihood.

Scaling of productive use of renewable energy through 4 pathways
capability (raising awareness and capacity building), regional cooperation (knowledge exchange among RMCs), investments, and policy.

Energy week 2024: Renewable energy for agriculture

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Stories from the field


Handbook for on-grid rooftop solar PV design optimization

This handbook explains the design optimisation process for on-grid rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. It sheds light on the fundamentals of solar PV systems and presents detailed examples and scenarios to illustrate the optimal design of such a system. The handbook takes a practical approach to system design, focusing on the customer’s needs and aspirations. This handbook specifically focuses on solar PV grid-connected systems with rooftop installation. It does not include ground-mounted installation practices, storage-type solar PV systems and other solar PV applications such as off-grid solar PV, solar water pumping, or solar mini-grids. Similarly, it does not include solar on-grid PV with battery inverter(s) or diesel generator(s) synchronization. The handbook incorporates inputs from industry practitioners and the experience of the authors.

Training of trainers manual on technical handbook on solar water pumps

In South Asia, solar water pumping systems (SWPS) are an emerging curiosity among farmers who are looking for better alternatives in reliable energy to pump water. A well-designed SWPS is a reliable source of energy for water pumping for farmers throughout the year. This handbook is aimed at renewable energy practitioners, academicians, government officials, students, and technical resource persons to develop must-know knowledge about SWPS. The handbook walks you through the technical background, important concepts, survey, design, installation, and operation, as well as maintenance of SWPS, and covers the full spectrum of its technical aspect.

Renewable energy in Nepal: Key findings and policy recommendations

To enable the expansion of sustainable renewable energy in Nepal, scaling up and investment are crucial. This requires appropriate planning, setting targets, evidence-based policymaking, and creating an enabling environment. Significant demand and a sizeable market for renewable energy exist in Nepal. However, commensurate investments, and sufficient annual market sales have not taken place. It implies gaps that need to be bridged through political commitments, enabling policies, and necessary plans at a scale. This report, based on key findings, offers policy recommendations for scaling and expanding the use of renewable energy in Nepal. By implementing these recommendations, the country can make significant progress towards achieving its climate change and developmental goals.

Alternative renewable energy in Bhutan: Key findings and policy recommendations

Biomass and hydropower are the principal sources of energy in Bhutan. In the future too, the latter is expected to play a significant role in meeting the country’s electricity needs and in earning export revenue. But, for transportation and other purposes, the country still has to import fuel. It is in this context and because of the country’s high dependence on hydroelectricity, as well as due to rising energy usage and falling prices of other renewable energy commodities that it has been deemed necessary to look into other renewable energy sources to diversify the country’s energy mix and economy. Thus, in a concerted manner, the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) has been exploring avenues of alternative renewable energy (ARE) sources. For this, the Department of Renewable Energy (DRE), has been entrusted with the responsibility of developing sustainable energy channels and promoting renewable energy technologies (RETs). This report analyses the achievements in the field of renewable energy in Bhutan and outlines the findings and recommendations so that the country is able to scale up its renewable energy capabilities.

Capacity Needs Assessment for Implementation of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Cardamom Value Chain of Nepal's Mountain Regions: Results of a Survey Study

The HKH region presents an immense opportunity for implementing decentralized, sustainable energy solutions that rely on renewable energy sources. However, the region remains vulnerable to energy poverty due to inadequate capacity at various levels for deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) solutions in mountainous areas. To achieve sustainable economic, social, and environmental performance, a thorough understanding of capacity development in RE&EE deployment within the value chain concept is crucial. This paper introduces a capacity needs assessment framework for the mountainous context, which was developed and applied to Nepal's cardamom value chain to explore the interplay of different core capabilities at individual and organizational levels. The survey study aimed to identify the specific capacity requirements necessary for the effective deployment of RE&EE solutions in the cardamom value chain. The analysis revealed significant capacity development needs on core capabilities affecting RE&EE deployment within the value chain, including technical skills, knowledge transfer, institutional strengthening, and policy development. The study also identifies challenges encountered when implementing RE&EE solutions in the cardamom value chain, such as financial constraints, technical challenges, and lack of awareness and education. Based on the study's findings, policymakers can design and implement effective capacity development initiatives that address the identified gaps and challenges and promote the deployment and implementation of RE&EE solutions in Nepal's mountain regions. This framework's applicability can extend to other value chains, such as tourism, dairy, poultry, and transportation sectors, by considering appropriate study dimensions and key indicators for value chain analysis.

Harnessing solar energy for alternative irrigation supply in cold, arid climate zones

Gilgit-Baltistan is endowed with ample solar energy potential. Harnessing this abundant and free solar energy to lift river water and utilizing efficient irrigation methods such as micro-irrigation could help expand cultivation and agricultural production. This fact sheet explores the irrigation potential that harnessing solar energy in the region can open up, and discusses some of operational requirements crucial to setting up solar energy irrigation systems.

Estimation of air pollutant emissions from captive diesel generators and its mitigation potential through microgrid and solar energy

The grid power supply in many developing countries is insufficient and irregular resulting in many commercial users relying on inefficient and air pollution intensive off-grid captive diesel generators (DGs) as a backup power supply. This study investigates the fuel consumption and emission level of such DGs and explores the possibility of reducing them through the formation of a microgrid of DGs and solar PV in a commercial area in Kathmandu, Nepal. An optimized microgrid system has been designed using the HOMER framework for both DGs and solar PV based systems. The optimized DG based microgrid results reduction in specific fuel consumption by 19% and cost by 5%. It also mitigates emissions of key air pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, CO, and VOCs) by 21% to 92% as compared to the baseline. If the solar PV based microgrid is used, the emissions can be reduced by 100% but cost increases by 27%. However, the overall economic benefit to the country could be quite significant due to the reduction of external costs of imported fossil fuel and generators, air pollution, adverse health outcomes, investment locking in grey power generation, and energy security issues. The approach used here can be emulated in many other developing countries with similar conditions.

Climate-smart agriculture interventions in Gilgit–Baltistan - Issue Brief

Over 90 per cent of the population in Gilgit–Baltistan is primarily dependent on agriculture, and climate change’s impacts are increasingly putting irrigation water supplies at risk. In this ever-changing context, making agricultural water management interventions that are adaptive and resilient to climate change impacts is crucial. The limited amount of cultivable land (due to the complex mountainous terrain) can potentially be utilized for high-value agricultural practices by employing innovative water-lifting technologies. The learnings from energy-efficient interventions such as the introduction of hydraulic ram pumps and solar pumps to supply irrigation water should be incorporated into decision-making processes so that their effectiveness in relevant areas of the country may be tested.

Building Innovation for Nepal’s Tourism Sector by adopting renewable energy and energy efficient business models project inception report

This inception study was conducted as part of initiating the Tourovation Hub project and explores the challenges and opportunities for Nepali tourism enterprises in adopting innovative renewable energy (RE) and energy efficient (EE) solutions and business models to deliver resilient enterprises. There is demand for a significant shift in the way tourism enterprises in Nepal are conceived and operated. This includes rethinking the value proposition and strategic orientation of tourism enterprises in terms of the environment and society. This means designing and developing sustainable business models that are based on innovative low-carbon emission solutions, eco-efficient approaches, climate-resilient initiatives, cost reduction, and creation of green jobs. In this context, renewable energy (RE) and energy efficient (EE) innovations that include multi-stakeholder views and collaborations, along with business support services, have a vital role to play. This publication includes findings from an inception study we carried out to explore how Nepali tourism enterprises can adopt RE and EE solutions and approaches to become resilient. 

A long-term mass-balance reconstruction (1974–2021) and a decadal in situ mass-balance record (2011–2021) of Rikha Samba Glacier, central Himalaya

Despite their importance for regional water resource planning and as indicators of climate change, records of in situ glacier mass balance remain short and spatially sparse in the Himalaya. Here, we present an updated series of in situ mass-balance measurements from Rikha Samba Glacier, Nepal, between 2011 and 2021. The updated in situ mass balance is −0.39 ± 0.32 m w.e. for this period. We use an energy-mass balance model to extend the annual mass-balance series back to 1974. The model is forced using daily meteorological variables from ERA5-Land reanalysis data that is linearly bias-corrected using observations from an automatic weather station situated near the glacier terminus. The modeled mass balance is consistent with the in situ mass-balance series measured 2011–2021 and with previous glaciological and geodetic estimates. The model results indicate a mass balance of −0.56 ± 0.27 m w.e. a−1 over the reconstruction period of 1974–2021, which is comparable to the mass losses experienced by other Himalayan glaciers during this time. An assessment of the sensitivity of the glacier mass balance to meteorological forcing suggests that a change in temperature of ±1 K has a stronger effect on the calculated mass balance compared to a ±20% change in either precipitation, or relative humidity, or solar radiation.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya energy profile: A baseline study across eight countries

This energy profile provides a snapshot for each of the eight countries of the Hindu Kush Himalaya – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. It presents the prevailing energy situation in each of these countries, based on secondary information available in the public domain. It identifies priority areas of action and measures for governments to consider in advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency in the mountain context.

A related collated regional database has been created, and country-specific information can be accessed at the REEECH portal, which is updated as and when new information is available. 

Associations of air pollution concentrations and energy production dynamics in Pakistan during lockdown

This study investigated atmospheric changes that occurred due to changes in energy production and consumption before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed nitrogen dioxide (NO2), aerosol optical depth (AOD), and rainfall patterns to understand the associated changes in emissions, especially from the power generation sector, before (2018 and 2019) and during the lockdown of 2020 across Pakistan. Regression analysis indicated a strong association between energy production by thermal power plants and tropospheric NO2 concentrations. Notably, a comparison between emission sources showed that the NO2 emissions from a single thermal power plant were equivalent to the emissions from a major city. During the lockdown, we observed a 40% reduction in NO2 emissions from coal-based power plants and a 30% reduction in mega- and major cities compared to the same retro in 2019. We also observed an approximate 25% decrease in AOD in the industrial and energy sectors, although no major decrease was obvious in the cities. Rainfall contributed to reducing the NO2 concentrations during monsoon season across all power plants in Pakistan, whereas it did not significantly correlate with AOD. The findings highlight the need for appropriate management and use of renewable energy in the industrial sector and transportation systems. Future research could estimate the environmental and public health costs linked to pollution originating from thermal energy production and poor transportation infrastructure.

Renewable energy and resilient enterprise development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya - working paper

Mountain enterprises in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region are highly vulnerable to climate shocks. The development of resilient enterprises in the mountains is dependent on access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy. Furthermore, micro, small, and medium enterprises in the HKH do not have the requisite capacity to absorb, adapt, or transform their value proposition in response to external shocks such as climate change or pandemics. This working paper discusses the need for a climate-centred policy and regulatory environment, and access to finance, infrastructure and clean energy sources for enhancing the resilience of small and medium enterprises in the region.

Cirque Floor Altitude of the Gangdise Mountains and its Controlling Factors

The cirque floor altitude (CFA) was used to indicate the patterns of paleoprecipitation, paleocloudiness, palaeoglaciation, and paleo-equilibrium line altitude (ELA). However, CFA is also affected by non-climatic factors, which limits its efficacy of being a paleoclimatic indicator. This study focuses on the Gangdise Mountains with an aim to investigate the controlling factors on CFA and test the CFA efficiency as an indicator of paleoclimate. A total of 1652 cirques were identified, and their CFAs were analysed in this study. The results show that the lowest CFA is in the eastern part of the Gangdise Mountains, followed by the western and central parts. This spatial distribution is in contrast with that of precipitation. This means that the development of the cirque is favoured by high precipitation. The high CFA values on southern and western slopes are due to effects of solar radiation and wind. The weak correlation between the cirque height and CFA and their different spatial distributions imply that cirque deepening is not the main factor affecting CFA. Various bedrocks of cirques manifest different CFA values, while the spatial patterns of the CFAs in the western, central and eastern parts can be partly explained by their bedrock types. The CFA values of the Gangdise Mountains are higher than those of the central Tibetan Plateau (TP). The CFA spatial distribution of the central TP is in contrast with that of precipitation, highlighting that precipitation is the primary control of the CFA. The relief and glacier type significantly control the CFAs. These findings lead to the conclusion that CFA is not always an actual indicator of paleoclimate on a large regional scale. Copyright © 2022 Dou, Mou and Zhang.

Renewable energy solutions for enterprise development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya: A needs assessment - working paper

This working paper is part of an ongoing effort at documenting the deployment of renewable energy technologies in productive enterprises. For the purposes of this study, the focus is on-farm and off-farm enterprises that are, or have the potential of, making use of renewable energy for value addition. The paper analyses three value chains from the HKH – bamboo in Bangladesh and Myanmar, yak milk in China and Bhutan, and tourism in Nepal and India – with the objective of highlighting the energy needs in each segment, existing energy flows, and the opportunities for renewables to strengthen constituent enterprises. 

Assessment of climate change Impacts on the water, food, and energy sectors in Sittaung River Basin, Myanmar

The Sittaung river basin (SRB) remains one of the least studied basins of Myanmar in terms of the assessment of the impact of climate change. As several reservoirs already exist in the basin, much research is needed to understand how projected climate change impacts rainfall, temperature, flows, domestic and agricultural demands, and hydropower generation. Given the limitation in observed data on the ground, a combination of satellite-derived meteorological data and digital elevation data is used to generate inputs to a Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model. Five CMIP5 GCMs are used in the WEAP to assess the impact of climate change on the water, food, and energy production of the SRB for the baseline (BL: 1985–2014), near future (NF: 2021–2050), and far future (FF: 2051–2080) periods. The results indicate that the average temperature and rainfall are likely to increase in the future for the SRB. December and January are expected to be drier and warmer, whereas rainy months are expected to be wetter and warmer in the future. The BL flows (1091 m3/s) are expected to increase by 7–10% during NF and by 16–19% during FF at the basin outlet. Meanwhile, the unmet domestic demand during BL (1.3 MCM) is expected to decrease further by approximately 50% in the future. However, the unmet agricultural demand (667 MCM) for food production is estimated to increase from the BL by 11–15% during NF and by 14–19% during FF. Similarly, the total energy generation of nine hydropower projects (4.12 million MWh) is expected to increase by 9–11% during NF and by 16–17% during FF. Thus, the riverine flows are expected to increase in the future, thus positively impacting the domestic and hydropower sectors, whereas the unmet demands in the agricultural sector likely remain unsatisfied. These results will help the water, agriculture, and energy sectors to develop strategies to maximize benefits and cope with the impacts of climate change in the near and long-term future.

Renewable energy for a low-carbon pathway in the Hindu Kush Himalaya: Current status, potential, and challenges

This paper presents targets pertaining to renewable energy as put forward by the HKH countries, and the potential of the HKH region to contribute to the national climate targets related to renewable energy. We provide an overview of the energy scenario, including the electricity consumption, production, and imports in different countries of the HKH. Net zero policies and other energy-related targets are also discussed. We analyse the renewable energy potential in the region and provide some recommendations for greater financial support, customised policies, capacity building, the generation of data, and the promotion of renewable energy technologies.

The information presented in this paper has been compiled and synthesised from various climate-related national documents such as the NDCs and national-level climate change policies, strategies, and action plans formulated by the countries of the HKH.

Developing SDG 7 ecosystem for local communities in Nepal

This report is a landscaping and a baseline analysis of clean energy enterprises in Nepal. It outlines the various types of solar energy enterprises and the barriers to and opportunities for their growth. Its findings may be used by solar energy access ecosystem stakeholders and enterprise incubators to develop specific programmes. The study was conducted by the SELCO Foundation in partnership with ICIMOD and Nepal Communitere. 

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Capability for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH) - Poster

Nearly 370 million people in the HKH region do not have access to electricity, with close to 1.8 billion people relying on traditional, polluting biomass fuels for energy. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Capability for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH) is the first centre with a mountain focus that functions as a regional hub and think tank under the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC) to accelerate universal energy access in the HKH region and place mountain energy issues on the global sustainable development and climate agenda.

Enabling policy environment for water, food and energy security

Abstract The complexity of water, food and energy security is analysed from the perspectives of (i) water and food and (ii) water and energy and their interconnectivity and focuses ultimately on water as a primary input into processes, the entry point for participants of the Third World Irrigation Forum. The paper provides an overview of trends in water, food and energy security, highlights the interconnectivity between the various elements and introduces the water-food-energy nexus as a tool for improving productivity and sector policies, avoiding unintended consequences on other sectors. Invariably, there will be trade-offs and the challenge is to find combinations of measures that have a net positive outcome. In order to quantify security in the three elements and the trade-offs between them, emerging modelling approaches for the nexus are discussed. Sub-theme 3 of the forum focuses on productivity and technology interventions1 and sub-theme 2 on stakeholder interaction. The combination of modelling, technology innovations and stakeholder participation in a water-food-energy nexus approach leads to better understanding of linkages and more robust policies and is used to derive recommendations for an enabling policy environment.

The role of hydropower in South Asia’s energy future

With rising energy demand in Asia, the high potential for hydropower development and the need for low-carbon energy development, hydropower would seem to have a significant role in South Asia’s energy future. However, the extent of hydropower development will depend on several risk factors, including the cost of alternative energy sources, the environmental sustainability of hydropower and social issues of equitable development. Using a risk-analysis framework, it is concluded that the future of hydropower will depend on how well policies and institutions manage the risks, facilitate efficient financial markets, and promote fair and friendly cross-border electricity trade.

Energy and mass balance dynamics of the seasonal snowpack at two high-altitude sites in the Himalaya

Snow dynamics play a crucial role in the hydrology of alpine catchments in the Himalaya. However, studies based on in-situ observations that elucidate the energy and mass balance of the snowpack at high altitude in this region are scarce. In this study, we use meteorological and snow observations at two high-altitude sites in the Nepalese Himalaya to quantify the mass and energy balance of the seasonal snowpack. Using a data driven experimental set-up we aim to understand the main meteorological drivers of snowmelt, illustrate the importance of accounting for the cold content dynamics of the snowpack, and gain insight into the role that snow meltwater refreezing plays in the energy and mass balance of the snowpack. Our results show an intricate relation between the sensitivity of melt and refreezing on the albedo, the importance of meltwater refreezing, and the amount of positive net energy used to overcome the cold content of the snowpack. The net energy available at both sites is primarily driven by the net shortwave radiation, and is therefore extremely sensitive to snow albedo measurements. We conclude that, based on observed snowpack temperatures, 21% of the net positive energy is used to overcome the cold content build up during the night. We also show that at least 32–34% of the snow meltwater refreezes again for both sites. Even when the cold content and refreezing are accounted for, excess energy is available beyond what is needed to melt the snowpack. We hypothesize that this excess energy may be explained by uncertainties in the measurement of shortwave radiation, an underestimation of refreezing due to a basal ice layer, a cold content increase due to fresh snowfall and the ground heat flux. Our study shows that in order to accurately simulate the mass balance of seasonal snowpacks in Himalayan catchments, simple temperature index models do not suffice and refreezing and the cold content needs to be accounted for.

Food, water, and energy security in South Asia: A nexus perspective from the Hindu Kush Himalayan region

With limited land resources, inadequate energy supply, and growing water stress, South Asia faces the challenge of providing enough water and energy to grow enough food for the burgeoning population. Using secondary data from diverse sources, this paper explores the food, water, and energy nexus from a regional dimension, emphasizing the role of Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) ecosystem services in sustaining food, water, and energy security downstream. The analysis reveals that the issues and challenges in the food, water, and energy sectors are interwoven in many complex ways and cannot be managed effectively without cross-sectoral integration. The most distinctive feature of the nexus in South Asia is the high degree of dependency of downstream communities on upstream ecosystem services for dry-season water for irrigation and hydropower, drinking water, and soil fertility and nutrients. This finding suggests that along with cross-sectoral integration to improve the resource-use efficiency and productivity of the three sectors, regional integration between upstream and downstream areas is critical in food, water, and energy security. Within the nexus approach in South Asia, equal attention should be paid to management of HKH ecosystems–especially the watersheds, catchments, and headwaters of river systems–and to tapping the potential of collaborative gains in water, hydropower, and other ecosystem services through coordination across HKH countries.

Daily Terra–Aqua MODIS cloud-free snow and Randolph Glacier Inventory 6.0 combined product (M*D10A1GL06) for high-mountain Asia between 2002 and 2019

Snow is a dominant water resource in high-mountain Asia (HMA) and crucial for mountain communities and downstream populations. Snow cover monitoring is significant to understand regional climate change, managing meltwater, and associated hazards/disasters. The uncertainties in passive optical remote-sensing snow products, mainly underestimation caused by cloud cover and overestimation associated with sensors' limitations, hamper the understanding of snow dynamics. We reduced the biases in Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra and Aqua daily snow data and generated a combined daily snow product for high-mountain Asia between 2002 and 2019. An improved MODIS 8 d composite MOYDGL06* product was used as a training data for reducing the underestimation and overestimation of snow in daily products. The daily MODIS Terra and Aqua images were improved by implementing cloud removal algorithms followed by gap filling and reduction in overestimated snow beyond the respective 8 d composite snow extent of the MOYDGL06* product. The daily Terra and Aqua snow products were combined and merged with the Randolph Glacier Inventory version 6.0 (RGI 6.0) described as M*D10A1GL06 to make a more complete cryosphere product with 500 m spatial resolution. The pixel values in the daily combined product are preserved and reversible to the individual Terra and Aqua improved products. We suggest a weight of 0.5 and 1 to snow pixels in either or both Terra and Aqua products, respectively, for deriving snow cover statistics from our final snow product. The values 200, 242, and 252 indicate snow pixels in both Terra and Aqua and have a weight of 1, whereas pixels with snow in one of the Terra or Aqua products have a weight of 0.5. On average, the M*D10A1GL06 product reduces 39.1 % of uncertainty compared to the MOYDGL06* product. The uncertainties due to cloud cover (underestimation) and sensor limitations, mainly larger solar zenith angle (SZA) (overestimation) reduced in this product, are approximately 32.9 % and 6.2 %, respectively. The data in this paper are mainly useful for observation and simulation of climate, hydro-glaciological forcings, calibration, validation, and other water-related studies.

Environmental impacts of shifts in energy, emissions, and urban heat island during the COVID-19 lockdown across Pakistan

Restrictions on human and industrial activities due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have resulted in an unprecedented reduction in energy consumption and air pollution around the world. Quantifying these changes in environmental conditions due to government-enforced containment measures provides a unique opportunity to understand the patterns, origins and impacts of air pollutants. During the lockdown in Pakistan, a significant reduction in energy demands and a decline of ∼1786 GWh (gigawatt hours) in electricity generation is reported. We used satellite observational data for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), aerosol optical depth (AOD) and land surface temperature (LST) to explore the associated environmental impacts of shifts in energy demands and emissions across Pakistan. During the strict lockdown period (March 23 to April 15, 2020), we observed a reduction in NO2 emissions by 40% from coal-based power plants followed by 30% in major urban areas compared to the same period in 2019. Also, around 25% decrease in AOD (at 550 nm) thickness in industrial and energy sectors was observed although no major decrease was evident in urban areas. Most of the industrial regions resumed emissions during the 3rd quarter of April 2020 while the urban regions maintained reduced emissions for a longer period. Nonetheless, a gradual increase has been observed since April 16 due to relaxations in lockdown implementations. Restrictions on transportation in the cities resulted in an evident drop in the surface urban heat island (SUHI) effect, particularly in megacities. The changes reported as well as the analytical framework provides a baseline benchmark to assess the sectoral pollution contributions to air quality, especially in the scarcity of ground-based monitoring systems across the country.

Wintertime air quality in Lumbini, Nepal: Sources of fine particle organic carbon

The Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) experience high levels of airborne particulate matter (PM), especially during the dry season. Contributing to PM are natural and anthropogenic emissions and the atmospheric transformation of gases to form particles. Regional smog events occur frequently during wintertime and provide an atmospheric medium for aerosol processing. Here, we investigate the chemical composition and sources of PM at a representative site in the northern IGP during the second Nepal Ambient Monitoring and Source Testing Experiment (NAMaSTE 2). In Lumbini, Nepal, the 24 h average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations ranged 48-295 and 60-343 μg m-3, respectively, from December 20, 2017, to January 1, 2018. On average (± standard deviation), PM2.5 was composed of 39 ± 7% organic carbon (OC), 5 ± 2% elemental carbon (EC), and 20 ± 6% secondary inorganic ions (ammonium, nitrate, and sulfate), 2.0% chloride, and 1.3% potassium. Biomass burning was a major PM source, indicated by a median levoglucosan concentration of 3.5 μg m-3. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) derived from biomass burning was indicated by high concentrations of nitromonoaromatic compounds (e.g., 4-nitrocatechol peaking at 435 ng m-3). During periods of fog, characterized by high relative humidity (RH) and relatively low solar radiation, nitroaromatic concentrations dropped despite levoglucosan remaining high, indicating that their formation was suppressed. Chemical signatures of SOA indicated that volatile organic compound (VOC) precursors were primarily combustion-derived, with small contributions from biogenic VOC. Through molecular markers and chemical mass balance (CMB) modeling, sources of PM2.5 OC were identified as cow dung burning (24 ± 16%), other biomass burning (20 ± 7%), plastic/garbage burning (4.7 ± 3.2%), vehicle emissions (3.1 ± 1.4%), coal combustion (0.3 ± 0.2%), and SOA from monoaromatic VOC (4.1 ± 0.8%), diaromatic VOC (8.9 ± 4.0%), cresol (0.3 ± 0.4%), isoprene (0.4 ± 0.2%), monoterpenes (1.5 ± 0.6%), and sesquiterpenes (3.2 ± 0.7%). Understanding the levels of PM in Lumbini, along with its chemical composition and sources of OC, contributes to a better understanding of regional air quality episodes in the IGP.

Scarce data and energy research: Estimating regional energy consumption in complex economies

Ecological concerns stemming from local energy usage generates more severe impacts on mountain economies, such as the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) — a region consisting of eight nation boundaries. However, little is known about the regional energy consumption pattern and trends in the HKH due to data scarcity making it difficult to devise effective evidence-based energy policy and planning strategies. The purpose of this study is to bridge the existing data deficit gap in the HKH region. We first estimate the HKH-specific energy consumption patterns in 2013 and then forecast the sectoral energy consumption of the region for the period 2013–2030 by using the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) system model. Our results show the dominance of residential sector (57%) and conventional biomass energy (50%) in the energy consumption landscape of the HKH. Industrial activities in HKH regions are still relatively underdeveloped compared to overall national averages. Energy consumption in the HKH region is around 5% of that in the HKH countries but is projected to increase from 5.89 million terajoule (TJ) in 2013 to 7.04 million TJ in 2030. The findings emphasise the importance of further investments and research in creating and periodically updating an HKH-specific energy database to overcome data-driven development challenges. © 2019 Economic Society of Australia, Queensland

Achieving water security in Nepal through unravelling the water-energy-agriculture nexus

This article investigates water security in Nepal from the perspective of the water-energy-agriculture (food) nexus, focusing on pathways to water security that originate in actions and policies related to other sectors. It identifies promoting development of Nepal’s hydropower potential to provide energy for pumping as way to improve water security in agriculture. Renewable groundwater reserves of 1.4 billion cubic meters (BCM), from an estimated available balance of 6.9 BCM, could be pumped to irrigate 613,000 ha of rainfed agricultural land in the Terai plains, with a potential direct economic gain of USD 1.1 billion annually and associated benefits including promotion of energy-based industry, food security and local employment. Governance also plays an important role in addressing water security. We conclude that a nexus-based approach is required for effective water management and governance.

Establishing Pir-Yakh Glacier as a benchmark glacier in Kabul basin, Afghanistan, November 2019

Strengthening Water Resources Management in Afghanistan (SWaRMA) is a two-year project supported by the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) – Government of Afghanistan and the Government of Australia, and implemented by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO). The project aims to strengthen water resource management in Afghanistan and implement a sustainable, long-term cryosphere monitoring programme in Afghanistan. This programme will evaluate available data on hydro-meteorological variables in catchments with snow and glacier.

MEW, with technical support from ICIMOD, installed the first-ever automatic weather station (AWS) at 4,528 masl near Pir-Yakh Glacier in Paryan District, Panjshir Province, Afghanistan, in August 2019. This station has the ability to capture eight meteorological parameters: precipitation, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, and gust speed. The AWS will improve understanding of meteorological parameters in relation to the¬¬ snow and ice melt runoff from the glacier.

A field expedition was organized by SWaRMA in August 2019 to install a hydro-met station consisting of one AWS, three rain gauge sensors and one pressure level sensor. The expedition team also conducted glacier mass balance analysis and stake network extension on Pir-Yakh Glacier. For accurate data collection on different elevation bands along the Upper Chomar valley up to the glacier, the team installed three rain gauge (RG3) and air temperature sensors. Data from these sensors will aid advanced modelling and water availability analysis of the catchment.

Five stakes have been installed at Pir-Yakh Glacier’s accumulation and oblation area. Depending on the issue being studied, these stakes, along with the AWS, are used to identify the water balance, discharge coefficient, surface and volume changes, glacier movement, glacier mass balance, and snow water equivalent. The lowest stake is at 4,400 masl and the highest at 4,880 masl, with each stake at a 100-m elevation difference.

Proceedings of the consultative workshop on renewable energy solutions for enterprise development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

ICIMOD and IRENA have been conducting a comprehensive scoping exercise to analyse energy needs and gaps in selected key economic value chains in the HKH region, and the opportunities offered by renewable energy (RE) solutions. To share the preliminary findings of the assessment and gather feedback, a consultative workshop was organized on 20 November 2019, convening over 50 experts comprising the three major stakeholder groups needed to deploy RE solutions at speed and scale across the HKH – local enterprises; policy makers; and enablers such as financing institutions, development agencies, and foundations.

Adaptation in Mountain Agriculture: Food Security in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) Region

Mountain agriculture is more vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change as it heavily relies on rainfall. Although the impact of the climate change on agriculture and food security has become a serious concern, so far limited efforts have been made to understand how climate change impacts food security of the mountain communities of the HKH region, how poor households adapt to changing conditions, and what options are available to facilitate better adaptation. The nature and causes of agriculture and food security in mountains is quite different from the plains and require a specific set of policy measures. This chapter aims to provide a better understanding of the vulnerability of mountain agriculture and food security to climate change risks. It analyses the appropriateness of existing policies and programmes for mountains, policy and local level adaptation trends, areas of adjustments, and possible adaptation options such as climate smart agriculture, rainwater harvesting technologies, solar energy for irrigation, and better crop choices based on agro-ecological potential of specific areas conducive to improved food and livelihood security in the mountains. One of key questions that arises in the chapter is “How can the poor and marginalized mountain farmers be included in the adaptation process?”

Indian Electricity Sector, Energy Security and Sustainability: An Empirical Assessment

Despite progresses achieved in several directions, Indian electricity sector continues to suffer from multiple anomalies that might endanger the energy security of the country. It is pertinent at this juncture to ask the question whether the sector is moving on a sustainable growth trajectory. Using a sustainable development framework, the present study evaluates how sustainable the Indian electricity sector is. It employs 11 indicators representing three dimensions of sustainable development i.e. economic, environmental and social and analyses 12 Indian states over a decade period. The findings of study suggest that the sector is moving towards sustainability though deviations exist in the performance of individual states and individual dimensions. The economic dimension shows a non-linear trend with multiple ups and downs. The environmental dimension indicates first a falling trend up to 2005-06 and rising sharply thereafter. The social dimension reveals a declining trend during the initial periods of the study and picking up in the last few years. Feed-in tariff policy of the Indian government is found to be successful in improving the electricity accessibility and diversifying the electricity supply and raising share of renewable energy which are in line with higher energy security goals.

Linking atmospheric pollution to cryospheric change in the Third Pole region: current progress and future prospects

The Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings are known as the Third Pole (TP). This region is noted for its high rates of glacier melt and the associated hydrological shifts that affect water supplies in Asia. Atmospheric pollutants contribute to climatic and cryospheric changes through their effects on solar radiation and the albedos of snow and ice surfaces; moreover, the behavior and fates within the cryosphere and environmental impacts of environmental pollutants are topics of increasing concern. In this review, we introduce a coordinated monitoring and research framework and network to link atmospheric pollution and cryospheric changes (APCC) within the TP region. We then provide an up-to-date summary of progress and achievements related to the APCC research framework, including aspects of atmospheric pollution's composition and concentration, spatial and temporal variations, trans-boundary transport pathways and mechanisms, and effects on the warming of atmosphere and changing in Indian monsoon, as well as melting of glacier and snow cover. We highlight that exogenous air pollutants can enter into the TP's environments and cause great impacts on regional climatic and environmental changes. At last, we propose future research priorities and map out an extended program at the global scale. The ongoing monitoring activities and research facilitate comprehensive studies of atmosphere-cryosphere interactions, represent one of China's key research expeditions to the TP and the polar regions and contribute to the global perspective of earth system science.

Chapter 6 Brief - Meeting Future Energy Needs in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

Chapter ABSTRACT: As mentioned in earlier chapters, the HKH regions form the entirety of some countries, a major part of other countries, and a small percentage of yet others. Because of this, when we speak about meeting the energy needs of the HKH region we need to be clear that we are not necessarily talking about the countries that host the HKH, but the clearly delineated mountainous regions that form the HKH within these countries. It then immediately becomes clear that energy provisioning has to be done in a mountain context characterized by low densities of population, low incomes, dispersed populations, grossly underdeveloped markets, low capabilities, and poor economies of scale. In other words, the energy policies and strategies for the HKH region have to be specific to these mountain contexts.

Marginalisation of off-grid energy sector in Sri Lanka: What lessons could be learnt?

Renewable energy-based off-grid projects have played a crucial role in Sri Lanka's universal electrification effort. The paper, in this context, unravels two crucial and quite interrelated aspects of decentralised off-grid electrification in the country: a) it critically analyses the off-grid electricity sector development and assesses its contribution to the universal electrification in the country and; b) it examines the current set of challenges associated with the off-grid electrification in the larger context of massive grid expansion. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods is employed as tools of analysis. The paper brings out several policy-relevant findings. Strategic policy interventions coupled with targeted policy goals, robust community-centric management structures, well-designed credit systems, and well-structured capacity-building initiatives are identified as key leveraging points for the success of off-grid electrification projects. The techno-economic analysis of an existing micro-hydro project reveals that there exist opportunities for more productive use of existing capacity. Grid interconnection of off-grid energy projects emerges as a major challenge beset with a whole gamut of technical, legal, regulatory, financial, and social conundrums. Interestingly, the intensity of such challenges differs across ownership types.

Beyond hydropower: Towards an integrated solution for water, energy and food security in South Asia

South Asia is energy-poor, water-stressed, and food-deficient, and these problems are expected to intensify with high population growth, rapid economic growth and industrialization, urbanization, and changing climate. Although the water, energy, and food security challenges are interconnected, they are dealt with in isolation, which fails to address the challenge of trade-offs and exacerbates the problems. The increased resource scarcity underlines the need for integrated solutions which ensure optimal resource use and maximize benefits. This article uses a nexus perspective to explore possible integrated solutions that support multiple uses of water at different scales and times. The analysis shows that the potential of water resources is underdeveloped and synergies between water, energy, and food are not fully harnessed. With proper coordination and management, water resources can generate multiple benefits for both upstream and downstream areas, including regional public goods such as regional connectivity and flood and drought management.


Carbonaceous aerosol characteristics on the Third Pole: A primary study based on the Atmospheric Pollution and Cryospheric Change (APCC) network

Carbonaceous aerosols (CAs) scatter and absorb incident solar radiation in the atmosphere, thereby influencing the regional climate and hydrological cycle, particularly in the Third Pole (TP). Here, we present the characteristics of CAs at 19 observation stations from the Atmospheric Pollution and Cryospheric Change network to obtain a deep understanding of pollutant status in the TP. The organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) concentrations decreased noticeably inwards from outside to inland of the TP, consistent with their emission load and also affected by transport process and meteorological condition. Urban areas, such as Kathmandu, Karachi, and Mardan, exhibited extremely high OC and EC concentrations, with low and high values occurring in the monsoon and non-monsoon seasons, respectively. However, remote regions inland the TP (e.g., Nam Co and Ngari) demonstrated much lower OC and EC concentrations. Different seasonal variations were observed between the southern and northern parts of the TP, suggesting differences in the patterns of pollutant sources and in distance from the sources between the two regions. In addition to the influence of long-range transported pollutants from the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP), the TP was affected by local emissions (e.g., biomass burning). The OC/EC ratio also suggested that biomass burning was prevalent in the center TP, whereas the marginal sites (e.g., Jomsom, Dhunche, and Laohugou) were affected by fossil fuel combustion from the up-wind regions. The mass absorption cross-section of EC (MACEC) at 632 nm ranged from 6.56 to 14.7 m2 g−1, with an increasing trend from outside to inland of the TP. Urban areas had low MACEC values because such regions were mainly affected by local fresh emissions. In addition, large amount of brown carbon can decrease the MACEC values in cities of South Asia. Remote sites had high MACEC values because of the coating enhancement of aerosols. Influenced by emission, transport process, and weather condition, the CA concentrations and MACEC presented decreasing and increasing trends, respectively, from outside to inland of the TP.

Integrated modelling of the impacts of hydropower projects on the water-food-energy nexus in a transboundary Himalayan river basin

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Paris agreement target a global cleaner energy transition with wider adaptation, poverty reduction and climate resilience benefits. Hydropower development in the transboundary Koshi river basin in the Himalayan region presents an intervention that can support the SDGs whilst meeting the regional commitments to the Paris agreement. This study aims to quantify the benefits of proposed water resource development projects in the transboundary basin (4 storage and 7 run-of-the-river hydropower dams) in terms of hydroelectric power generation, crop production and flood damage reduction. A hydro-economic model is constructed by soft coupling hydrological and crop growth simulation models to an economic optimization model. The model assesses the potential of the interventions to break the vicious cycle of poverty and water, food, and energy insecurity. Unlike previous studies, the model (a) incorporates the possibility of using hydropower to pump groundwater for irrigation as well as flood regulation and (b) quantifies the resilience of the estimated benefits under future climate scenarios from downscaled general circulation models affecting both river flows and crop growth. The results show significant potential economic benefits generated from electricity production, increased agricultural production, and flood damage control at the transboundary basin scale. The estimated annual benefits are around USD 2.3 billion under the baseline scenario and USD 2.4 billion under a future (RCP 4.5) climate scenario, compared to an estimated annual investment cost of USD 0.7 billion. The robustness of the estimated benefits illustrates the climate resilience of the water resource development projects. Contrary to the commonly held view that the benefits of these proposed projects are limited to hydropower, the irrigation and flood regulation benefits account for 40 percent of the total benefits. The simulated scenarios also show substantial irrigation gains from the construction of the ROR schemes, provided the generated power is also used for groundwater irrigation. The integrated modelling framework and results provide useful policy insights for evidence-based decision-making in transboundary river basins around the globe facing the challenges posed by the water-food-energy nexus.

Are Renewable Energy Subsidies in Nepal Reaching the Poor?

The Government of Nepal has been providing subsidies to promote biogas technology since the 1970s and Solar Home Systems (SHS) since the 1990s. This study uses nationally representative survey data to examine the extent to which these subsidies benefitted the rural poor. We find that only 5% of households who are eligible for a biogas subsidy have adopted biogas; and only 2% of biogas adopters are below the poverty line, as compared to a poverty rate of 19% in the country. For SHS, 27% of the households eligible for subsidy have adopted the technology, and 25% of the adopters are below the poverty line. The SHS subsidy program is much more accessible to the poor as compared to the biogas subsidy program for two main reasons. First, Solar Home Systems are much cheaper than biogas plants, and so are more accessible to the poor after the subsidy, and second, the SHS subsidy is geographically targeted toward poor areas, while the biogas subsidy is not.

Climate smart water management vital for sustainable agriculture in South Asia

Climate smart water management practices are important to cope with increasing climate variability and improve agricultural sustainability in South Asia. Novel solutions like solar powered irrigation pumps can accelerate the adoption of improved irrigation methods (e.g. drip or sprinkler) and proven water saving practices (e.g. mulching), and crop diversification. In high- and mid-altitude mountains, re-adoption of traditional crops is vital to cope with water stress induced by rapidly changing patterns of snowfall and glacier melt.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Capability for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH)

A comprehensive needs assessment and feasibility study was undertaken among stakeholders involved in renewable energy and energy efficiency in ICIMOD’s eight regional member countries (RMCs) in the HKH – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – to assess current energy challenges, opportunity gaps and value addition potential of REEECH. The study identified a number of arenas where positive efforts could be made to harness the full potential of energy sources in the region.

Towards Cleaner Brick Production Design Workshop for Gender and Social Action Research, 25 July 2018 Kathmandu, Nepal - Workshop Report

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with the Federation of Nepal Brick Industries (FNBI) brought 40 brick entrepreneurs together at ICIMOD headquarters on 25 July 2018. Participants deliberated on potential action research interventions, discussed action research approaches and scope, and identified key implementation issues. There was active participation from FNBI representatives, including presidents of the Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kavre, Dhading, Rautahat, Koshi, Rupandehi, and Mahakali district brick entrepreneur associations, and potential focal persons of FNBI’s social unit. Some potential action research implementation partners presented and discussed their respective products: ECOPRISE on solar electrification for lighting and water pumping; Open Learning Exchange Nepal (OLE Nepal) on alternative education; and Shikhar Insurance Co. Ltd on life and health insurance.

Floods need not spell doom if planning and management are inclusive

Farmers in South Asia historically appreciated moderate seasonal floods, as these brought sediments with nutrients, water for irrigation, replenished groundwater and revived water bodies. But, scenarios have changed, and flooding is becoming more destructive.Floods need not spell doom if river management, including planning and control, take into account people's concerns, experiences and skill sets. This requires an approach that focuses on balanced interaction between the ecology and human systems at basin level in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. Climate and Flood Resilient (CFR) housing on the floodplains, consisting of raised and protected plinths, provisions for safe drinking water, EcoSan toilets and solar power, can prevent displacement and maintain health conditions during floods. These low-cost innovations can equip communities to become resilient to extreme and frequent riverine and flash floods.

Concentrations and Source Regions of Light-Absorbing Particles in Snow/Ice in Northern Pakistan and Their Impact on Snow Albedo

Black carbon (BC), water-insoluble organic carbon (OC), and mineral dust are important particles in snow and ice which significantly reduce albedo and accelerate melting. Surface snow and ice samples were collected from the Karakoram–Himalayan region of northern Pakistan during 2015 and 2016 in summer (six glaciers), autumn (two glaciers), and winter (six mountain valleys). The average BC concentration overall was 2130±1560ngg−1 in summer samples, 2883±3439ngg−1 in autumn samples, and 992±883ngg−1 in winter samples. The average water-insoluble OC concentration overall was 1839±1108ngg−1 in summer samples, 1423±208ngg−1 in autumn samples, and 1342±672ngg−1 in winter samples. The overall concentration of BC, OC, and dust in aged snow samples collected during the summer campaign was higher than the concentration in ice samples. The values are relatively high compared to reports by others for the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. This is probably the result of taking more representative samples at lower elevation where deposition is higher and the effects of ageing and enrichment are more marked. A reduction in snow albedo of 0.1–8.3% for fresh snow and 0.9–32.5% for aged snow was calculated for selected solar zenith angles during daytime using the Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiation (SNICAR) model. The daily mean albedo was reduced by 0.07–12.0%. The calculated radiative forcing ranged from 0.16 to 43.45Wm−2 depending on snow type, solar zenith angle, and location. The potential source regions of the deposited pollutants were identified using spatial variance in wind vector maps, emission inventories coupled with backward air trajectories, and simple region-tagged chemical transport modeling. Central, south, and west Asia were the major sources of pollutants during the sampling months, with only a small contribution from east Asia. Analysis based on the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-STEM) chemical transport model identified a significant contribution (more than 70%) from south Asia at selected sites. Research into the presence and effect of pollutants in the glaciated areas of Pakistan is economically significant because the surface water resources in the country mainly depend on the rivers (the Indus and its tributaries) that flow from this glaciated area.

Regional Validation Workshop on the Establishment of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Centre for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH), 1–2 December 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal; Workshop Report

The sub-regional workshop was an instrumental part of the preparatory process for the establishment of REEECH, initially named the Hindu Kush Himalaya Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (HCREEE).


The objective of the workshop was to get stakeholder feedback on (a) needs, value, and scope, (b) technical priority activities, and (c) institutional aspects and sustainability of REEECH.

The Importance of Turbulent Fluxes in the Surface Energy Balance of a Debris-Covered Glacier in the Himalayas

Surface energy balance models are common tools to estimate melt rates of debris-covered glaciers. In the Himalayas, radiative fluxes are occasionally measured, but very limited observations of turbulent fluxes on debris-covered tongues exist to date. We present measurements collected between 26 September and 12 October 2016 from an eddy correlation system installed on the debris-covered Lirung Glacier in Nepal during the transition between monsoon and post-monsoon. Our observations suggest that surface energy losses through turbulent fluxes reduce the positive net radiative fluxes during daylight hours between 10 and 100%, and even lead to a net negative surface energy balance after noon. During clear days, turbulent flux losses increase to over 250 W m−2 mainly due to high sensible heat fluxes. During overcast days the latent heat flux dominates the turbulent losses and together they reach just above 100 W m−2. Subsequently, we validate the performance of three bulk approaches in reproducing the observations from the eddy correlation system. Large differences exist between the approaches, and accurate estimates of surface temperature, wind speed, and surface roughness are necessary for their performance to be reasonable. Moreover, the tested bulk approaches generally overestimate turbulent latent heat fluxes by a factor 3 on clear days, because the debris-covered surface dries out rapidly, while the bulk equations assume surface saturation. Improvements to bulk surface energy models should therefore include the drying process of the surface. A sensitivity analysis suggests that, in order to be useful in distributed melt models, an accurate extrapolation of wind speed, surface temperature and surface roughness in space is a prerequisite. By applying the best performing bulk model over a complete melt period, we show that turbulent fluxes reduce the available energy for melt at the debris surface by 17% even at very low wind speeds. Overall, we conclude that turbulent fluxes play an essential role in the surface energy balance of debris-covered glaciers and that it is essential to include them in melt models.

Megatrends in Hindu Kush Himalaya: Climate Change, Urbanisation and Migration and Their Implications for Water, Energy and Food

The Hindu Kush Himalaya is undergoing rapid change, driven by twin megatrends of climate change and urbanisation, which threaten their crucial water-provisioning services for over a billion people across Asia and undermine quality of life, economic development, and environmental sustainability within the region. This chapter examines current and future megatrends Megatrendsfrom a mountain perspective, assessing the impacts for water, energy and Foodsecurityfood security Food securityof glacial meltGlacial melt, altered river flowsRiver flows and drying springsDrying springs, coupled with unplanned urban growth Urban growthand outmigration. Further innovation Innovation is needed in responding to climate-induced risk, developing hydro-power sustainably and enhancing mountain agriculture.Mountain agriculture

Satellite-based estimation of net primary productivity for southern China's grasslands from 1982 to 2012

ABSTRACT: Grassland productivity change, along with the factors driving this change, is central to the study of terrestrial ecosystems. To date, few studies have examined these factors in grassland areas in southern China. In this study, we investigated grassland productivity change in an area in southern China that constitutes nearly 25% of the country’s total terrestrial area. Pairing GIMMS NDVI3g data with meteorological data from between 1982 and 2012, we estimated grassland net primary productivity (NPP) using the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford-Approach model. We then investigated the spatiotemporal changes in grassland NPP in response to several climate factors. Overall, we found an average annual grassland NPP of 309.6 g C m-2 with a relatively large annual variation of 198.3 to 365.1 g C m-2. Annual NPP exhibited an increasing trend, from 288 g C m-2 yr-1 in the 1980s to 323 g C m-2 yr-1 in the 2010s, with a mean annual increase rate of 0.39%. More than two-thirds of the grasslands (70.69%) showed relatively small fluctuations in annual NPP change. Collectively, our results indicate that grasslands in southern China were a relatively productive and stable ecosystem over the study period, accounting for approximately 1.8 to 5.5% of total annual Chinese terrestrial NPP. Our results also indicate interesting correlations between NPP and climate factors. During the study period, and across the study area, solar radiation and precipitation were positively correlated with NPP, while temperature was negatively correlated with NPP. Increases in NPP due to increasing radiation and precipitation combined with the decreases in NPP resulting from increasing temperature yielded an insignificant change in NPP overall.

Surface-layer turbulence, energy-balance and links to atmospheric circulations over a mountain glacier in the French Alps

Over Saint-Sorlin Glacier in the French Alps (45° N, 6.1° E; ∼ 3 km2) in summer, we study the atmospheric surface-layer dynamics, turbulent fluxes, their uncertainties and their impact on surface energy balance (SEB) melt estimates. Results are classified with regard to large-scale forcing. We use high-frequency eddy-covariance data and mean air-temperature and wind-speed vertical profiles, collected in 2006 and 2009 in the glacier's atmospheric surface layer. We evaluate the turbulent fluxes with the eddy-covariance (sonic) and the profile method, and random errors and parametric uncertainties are evaluated by including different stability corrections and assuming different values for surface roughness lengths. For weak synoptic forcing, local thermal effects dominate the wind circulation. On the glacier, weak katabatic flows with a wind-speed maximum at low height (2–3 m) are detected 71 % of the time and are generally associated with small turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and small net turbulent fluxes. Radiative fluxes dominate the SEB. When the large-scale forcing is strong, the wind in the valley aligns with the glacier flow, intense downslope flows are observed, no wind-speed maximum is visible below 5 m, and TKE and net turbulent fluxes are often intense. The net turbulent fluxes contribute significantly to the SEB. The surface-layer turbulence production is probably not at equilibrium with dissipation because of interactions of large-scale orographic disturbances with the flow when the forcing is strong or low-frequency oscillations of the katabatic flow when the forcing is weak. In weak forcing when TKE is low, all turbulent fluxes calculation methods provide similar fluxes. In strong forcing when TKE is large, the choice of roughness lengths impacts strongly the net turbulent fluxes from the profile method fluxes and their uncertainties. However, the uncertainty on the total SEB remains too high with regard to the net observed melt to be able to recommend one turbulent flux calculation method over another.

Black Carbon Solar Absorption Suppresses Turbulence in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer

The introduction of cloud condensation nuclei and radiative heating by sunlight-absorbing aerosols can modify the thickness and coverage of low clouds, yielding significant radiative forcing of climate. The magnitude and sign of changes in cloud coverage and depth in response to changing aerosols are impacted by turbulent dynamics of the cloudy atmosphere, but integrated measurements of aerosol solar absorption and turbulent fluxes have not been reported thus far. Here we report such integrated measurements made from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during the CARDEX (Cloud Aerosol Radiative Forcing and Dynamics Experiment) investigation conducted over the northern Indian Ocean. The UAV and surface data reveal a reduction in turbulent kinetic energy in the surface mixed layer at the base of the atmosphere concurrent with an increase in absorbing black carbon aerosols. Polluted conditions coincide with a warmer and shallower surface mixed layer because of aerosol radiative heating and reduced turbulence. The polluted surface mixed layer was also observed to be more humid with higher relative humidity. Greater humidity enhances cloud development, as evidenced by polluted clouds that penetrate higher above the top of the surface mixed layer. Reduced entrainment of dry air into the surface layer from above the inversion capping the surface mixed layer, due to weaker turbulence, may contribute to higher relative humidity in the surface layer during polluted conditions. Measurements of turbulence are important for studies of aerosol effects on clouds. Moreover, reduced turbulence can exacerbate both the human health impacts of high concentrations of fine particles and conditions favorable for low-visibility fog events.

A Comparative High-Altitude Meteorological Analysis from Three Catchments in the Nepalese Himalaya

Meteorological studies in high-mountain environments form the basis of our understanding of catchment hydrology and glacier accumulation and melt processes, yet high-altitude (>4000 m above sea level, asl) observatories are rare. This research presents meteorological data recorded between December 2012 and November 2013 at seven stations in Nepal, ranging in elevation from 3860 to 5360 m asl. Seasonal and diurnal cycles in air temperature, vapour pressure, incoming short-wave and long-wave radiation, atmospheric transmissivity, wind speed, and precipitation are compared between sites. Solar radiation strongly affects diurnal temperature and vapour pressure cycles, but local topography and valley-scale circulations alter wind speed and precipitation cycles. The observed diurnal variability in vertical temperature gradients in all seasons highlights the importance of in situ measurements for melt modelling. The monsoon signal (progressive onset and sharp end) is visible in all data-sets, and the passage of the remnants of Typhoon Phailin in mid-October 2013 provides an interesting case study on the possible effects of such storms on glaciers in the region.

Water, Food, and Energy Nexus in South Asia: Implications for Adaption to Climate Change

Adaptation to climate change has received increased attention in recent years in the academic and development discourse. Effective adaptation to climate change requires the efficient use of land, water, energy, and other vital resources, together with coordinated efforts to minimize trade-offs and maximize synergies. The concept of water, energy, and food nexus is considered to be an effective mechanism for enhancing resource use efficiency, minimizing trade-offs, and maximizing synergies in resource use. However, as in many developing countries, the policy process in the countries of South Asia generally follows a sectoral approach that does not take into account the interconnections and interdependence among the three sectors. In designing effective adaptation strategies, it is critical to understand the linkages between the nexus perspective and adaptation to climate change. This paper seeks to increase understanding of the interlinkages in the water, energy, and food nexus, explains why it is important to consider this nexus in the context of adaptation responses, and argues that focusing on trade-offs and synergies using a nexus approach could facilitate greater climate change adaptation and help ensure food, water, and energy security by enhancing resource use efficiency and encouraging greater policy coherence. The paper provides a conceptual framework for considering the nexus approach in relation to climate change adaptation, discusses the potential synergies, and finally offers a broader framework and reform measures for making adaptation responses more effective and sustainable.

Managing the Food, Water, and Energy Nexus for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia

South Asian countries face mounting challenges in meeting the growing demand for food, water, and energy for a rapidly growing population. Countries have provided policy support to increase cereal production, including providing incentives by subsidizing water and energy and guaranteeing rice and wheat prices. While such incentives have increased cereal production, they have also increased the demand for water and energy, led to degradation of the resource base, and contributed to an increase in water-related disease. Despite the inherent interconnections between food, water, and energy production, agencies often work in a fragmented and isolated way. Poor sectoral coordination and institutional fragmentation have triggered an unsustainable use of resources and threatened the long-term sustainability of food, water, and energy security in the region, and also posed challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Free water and subsidized electricity have not only encouraged overexploitation of resources, they have also led to under-investment in water and energy-saving technologies and approaches and hindered crop diversification and broad-based agricultural growth in line with the comparative advantages. Greater policy coherence among the three sectors is critical for decoupling increased food production from water and energy intensity and moving to a sustainable and efficient use of resources. The nexus approach can enhance understanding of the interconnectedness of the sectors and strengthen coordination among them. But it requires a major shift in the decision-making process towards taking a holistic view and developing institutional mechanisms to coordinate the actions of diverse actors and strengthen complementarities and synergies among the three sectors. A framework is suggested for cross-sectoral coordination and managing the nexus challenges.

The Nexus Approach to Water–Energy–Food Security; An Option for Adaptation to Climate Change

Developing countries face a difficult challenge in meeting the growing demands for food, water, and energy, which is further compounded by climate change. Effective adaptation to change requires the efficient use of land, water, energy, and other vital resources, and coordinated efforts to minimize trade-offs and maximize synergies. However, as in many developing countries, the policy process in South Asia generally follows a sectoral approach that does not take into account the interconnections and interdependence among the three sectors. Although the concept of a water–energy–food nexus is gaining currency, and adaptation to climate change has become an urgent need, little effort has been made so far to understand the linkages between the nexus perspective and adaptation to climate change. Using the Hindu Kush Himalayan region as an example, this article seeks to increase understanding of the interlinkages in the water, energy, and food nexus, explains why it is important to consider this nexus in the context of adaptation responses, and argues that focusing on trade-offs and synergies using a nexus approach could facilitate greater climate change adaptation and help ensure food, water, and energy security by enhancing resource use efficiency and encouraging greater policy coherence. It concludes that a nexus-based adaption approach – which integrates a nexus perspective into climate change adaptation plans and an adaptation perspective into development plans – is crucial for effective adaptation. The article provides a conceptual framework for considering the nexus approach in relation to climate change adaptation, discusses the potential synergies, trade-offs, and offers a broader framework for making adaptation responses more effective.

Proceedings of the South Asia Regional Fulbright Alumni Workshop on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus 2015

South Asia’s water crisis is a worldwide concern. The region’s population is soon expected to reach two billion; the greater Ganges Basin alone is home to 700 million people, many of whom are among the poorest in the world. Managing water resources in this region to alleviate poverty has historically been an intractable problem, and solutions will require a multidisciplinary approach.


This publication documents the proceedings of the South Asia Regional Fulbright Alumni Workshop on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus convened in Kathmandu from 10–12 February 2015. The workshop aimed to foster an interdisciplinary and transboundary discussion of the interrelationships among water, energy, and food (WEF).


The workshop assembled 60 South Asian alumni of the Fulbright, Humphrey, and International Visitors Leadership programmes, along with 40 regional and international experts, to promote a shared understanding of water, energy, and food issues in the region. Experts in water resources, as well as those specializing in food and energy security, brought to the workshop many years of experience in their own fields and countries. Participants and speakers included government officials, academics, researchers from think tanks, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and activists. The goal of the three-day workshop was to promote a shared understanding of the complex interrelationships among water, energy, and food issues in South Asia and beyond.

Modeling near-Surface Firn Temperature in a Cold Accumulation Zone (Col Du Dôme, French Alps): From a Physical to a Semi-Parameterized Approach

Analysis of the thermal regime of glaciers is crucial for glacier hazard assessment, especially in the context of a changing climate. In particular, the transient thermal regime of cold accumulation zones needs to be modeled. A modeling approach has therefore been developed to determine this thermal regime using only near-surface boundary conditions coming from meteorological observations. In the first step, a surface energy balance (SEB) model accounting for water percolation and radiation penetration in firn was applied to identify the main processes that control the subsurface temperatures in cold firn. Results agree well with subsurface temperatures measured at Col du Dôme (4250 m above sea level (a.s.l.)), France. In the second step, a simplified model using only daily mean air temperature and potential solar radiation was developed. This model properly simulates the spatial variability of surface melting and subsurface firn temperatures and was used to accurately reconstruct the deep borehole temperature profiles measured at Col du Dôme. Results show that percolation and refreezing are efficient processes for the transfer of energy from the surface to underlying layers. However, they are not responsible for any higher energy uptake at the surface, which is exclusively triggered by increasing energy flux from the atmosphere due to SEB changes when surface temperatures reach 0 °C. The resulting enhanced energy uptake makes cold accumulation zones very vulnerable to air temperature rise.

Processes Governing the Mass Balance of Chhota Shigri Glacier (Western Himalaya, India) Assessed by Point-Scale Surface Energy Balance Measurements

Some recent studies revealed that Himalayan glaciers were shrinking at an accelerated rate since the beginning of the 21st century. However, the climatic causes for this shrinkage remain unclear given that surface energy balance studies are almost nonexistent in this region. In this study, a point-scale surface energy balance analysis was performed using in situ meteorological data from the ablation zone of Chhota Shigri Glacier over two separate periods (August 2012 to February 2013 and July to October 2013) in order to understand the response of mass balance to climatic variables. Energy balance numerical modelling provides quantification of the surface energy fluxes and identification of the factors affecting glacier mass balance. The model was validated by comparing the computed and observed ablation and surface temperature data. During the summer-monsoon period, net radiation was the primary component of the surface energy balance accounting for 80 % of the total heat flux followed by turbulent sensible (13%), latent (5%) and conductive (2%) heat fluxes. A striking feature of the energy balance is the positive turbulent latent heat flux, suggesting re-sublimation of moist air at the glacier surface, during the summer-monsoon characterized by relatively high air temperature, high relative humidity and a continual melting surface. The impact of the Indian Summer Monsoon on Chhota Shigri Glacier mass balance has also been assessed. This analysis demonstrates that the intensity of snowfall events during the summer-monsoon plays a key role on surface albedo (melting is reduced in the case of strong snowfalls covering the glacier area), and thus is among the most important drivers controlling the annual mass balance of the glacier. The summer-monsoon air temperature, controlling the precipitation phase (rain versus snow and thus albedo), counts, indirectly, also among the most important drivers.

A Physically Based Model of the Year-Round Surface Energy and Mass Balance of Debris-Covered Glaciers

Debris-covered glaciers respond to atmospheric conditions in different ways from debris-free glaciers, due to the presence of debris at the surface during the ablation season and at the snow/ice interface during the accumulation season. Understanding the response of debris-covered glaciers to a variety of meteorological conditions in a physically sound manner is essential to quantify meltwater discharge and to predict their response to climate change. To tackle this issue, we developed the Crocus-DEB model as an adaptation of the detailed snowpack model Crocus, to simulate the energy and mass balance of debris-covered glaciers, including periods when debris is covered by snow. Crocus-DEB was evaluated with data gathered during a field experiment using artificial debris covering the snowpack at Col de Porte, France, with very good results in terms of conductive heat flux, both at the surface and at the interface between the debris and the underlying dense snow taken as a surrogate for ice, with and without snow overlying the debris. The model was also evaluated using field data from the debris-covered glacier Changri Nup, Nepal, Himalaya. This paper introduces the design of the model, its performance and its ability to explore relationships between model parameters, meteorological conditions and the critical debris thickness.

Political economy of the energy-groundwater nexus in India: Exploring issues and assessing policy options

Indian agriculture is trapped in a complex nexus of groundwater depletion and energy subsidies. This nexus is the product of past public policy choices that initially offered opportunities to India's small-holder-based irrigation economy but has now generated in its wake myriad economic, social, and environmental distortions. Conventional 'getting-the-price-right' solutions to reduce these distortions have consistently been undermined by the invidious political economy that the nexus has created. The historical evolution of the nexus is outlined, the nature and scale of the distortions it has created are explored, and alternative approaches which Indian policy makers can use to limit, if not eliminate, the damaging impacts of the distortions, are analysed. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Contribution of Himalayan Ecosystems to Water, Energy, and Food Security in South Asia; A nexus approach

In the face of climatic and other socioeconomic changes, most South Asian countries having large and growing population, limited land resources, and increasing water stress face a common challenge of how to grow more food with the same or less land, less water, and increased energy prices. This concept paper seeks deeper understanding of the interlinkages among water, energy, and food, which is crucial to formulate cross-sectoral policies for more resilient and adaptable societies. In South Asia, such a nexus approach inevitably needs to take Himalayan ecosystem services into account. Rice and wheat, the staple foods in South Asia, require huge amounts of both water and energy. The Indus-Ganges-Brahmaputra plain - the sub-region's grain basket and one of the world's largest areas of irrigated agriculture - depends in large part on the Himalayan mountain system as a source of both surface and groundwater for irrigation; as a source of hydropower; and as a regulator of climate and a repository of agro-biodiversity. To sustain these services and to ensure both upstream and downstream food, water, and energy security in South Asia, policies and strategies must therefore promote improved management of Himalayan watersheds, forests, wetlands, and rangelands. Recommended measures include support to restoration of natural water storage capacity; development of climate smart, environmentally and socially sound water infrastructure; adequate investment for natural resource management; and incentives to mountain communities for managing Himalayan ecosystems.

Impact of cloudiness on net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide in different types of forest ecosystems in China

Clouds can significantly affect carbon exchange process between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere by influencing the quantity and quality of solar radiation received by ecosystem's surface and other environmental factors. In this study, we analyzed the effects of cloudiness on net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (NEE) in a temperate broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forest at Changbaishan (CBS) and a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest at Dinghushan (DHS), based on the flux data obtained during Juneg-August from 2003 to 2006. The results showed that the response of NEE of forest ecosystems to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) differed under clear skies and cloudy skies. Compared with clear skies, the light-saturated maximum photosynthetic rate (Pec,max) at CBS under cloudy skies during mid-growing season (from June to August) increased by 34%, 25%, 4% and 11% in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, respectively. In contrast, Pec,max of the forest ecosystem at DHS was higher under clear skies than under cloudy skies from 2004 to 2006. When the clearness index (k)t ranged between 0.4 and 0.6, the NEE reached its maximum at both CBS and DHS. However, the NEE decreased more dramatically at CBS than at DHS when k)t exceeded 0.6. The results indicate that cloudy sky conditions are beneficial to net carbon uptake in the temperate forest ecosystem and the subtropical forest ecosystem. Under clear skies, vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and air temperature increased due to strong light. These environmental conditions led to greater decrease in gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP) and greater increase in ecosystem respiration (R )e) at CBS than at DHS. As a result, clear sky conditions caused more reduction of NEE in the temperate forest ecosystem than in the subtropical forest ecosystem. The response of NEE of different forest ecosystems to the changes in cloudiness is an important factor that should be included in evaluating regional carbon budgets under climate change conditions. © 2010 Author(s).

The energy-irrigation nexus and its impact on groundwater markets in eastern Indo-Gangetic basin: Evidence from West Bengal, India

South Asia in general and India in particular is heavily dependent on groundwater for supporting its largely agrarian population. Informal pump irrigation services markets have played an important role in providing access to irrigation to millions of small and marginal farmers and had positive equity, efficiency and sustainable impacts in water-abundant regions such as West Bengal. Quite predictably, in such pump lift-based economy, fortunes of energy and irrigation sectors are closely entwined. This has often been called the 'energy-irrigation' nexus. There are two major sources of energy for pumping groundwater, viz. electricity and diesel. Most of the current discourse in the field has looked only at the 'electricity-irrigation' nexus to the exclusion of the 'diesel-irrigation nexus'. This paper looks at both these aspects. In doing so, it makes two propositions. First, high flat-rate electricity tariff encourages development of water markets whereby the water buyers-who are mostly small and marginal farmers-benefit through access to irrigation. Second, low rate of rural electrification has forced majority of farmers to depend on diesel for groundwater pumping and the steep increase in diesel prices over the last few years has resulted in economic scarcity of groundwater. This in turn has had serious negative impacts on crop production and farm incomes. Using primary field data from West Bengal, India, this paper makes a case for rapid rural electrification and continuation of high flat-rate tariff, which would in turn support developed groundwater markets and provide access to irrigation to the poor and marginal farmers. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Influence of Stand Age on Nutrient and Energy Release Through Decomposition in Alder-Cardamom Agroforestry Systems of the Eastern Himalayas

The influence of stand age (5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 years) on the decomposition of litter fractions, nutrient and energy release of mixtures of N2-fixing alder ( Alnus nepalensis) and non-N2-fixing large cardamom ( Amomum subulatum) systems was compared. Seasonal decomposition rates were distinct with the highest rate in the first 6 months followed by subsequent seasons. The decomposition rate was substantially high in younger stands (10- to 15-years) and declined in the older stands. Heat sink from the stand floor litter increased from 171 106 kJ year-1 in 5 years to 299 -106 kJ year-1 at 15 years and then considerably decreased with advancing age. However, energy and nutrient releases were slow at a high initial lignin-to-initial N ratio and C-to-N ratio, and there was an inverse relationship between the k-value of ash-free-mass and N expressed as a function of the C-to-N ratio. Quantities of nutrient release and energy loss per unit area in 24 months of decomposition were highest in 15 years and subsequently they lowered with advancing age. Nutrient loss indicated approximately uniform absolute and relative rates. Absolute energy consistently decreased by 81.88% in 24 months. Ash-free mass of decomposing litter remaining at different retrieval dates was associated with a narrowing of the C-to-N ratio. The relative loss rate of ash-free mass, nutrients and energy content was strongly related to the C-to-N ratio, litter temperature and litter moisture. The influence of Alnus in the younger stands on nutrient and energy releases were rapid, indicating accelerated nutrient cycling and energy dynamics. The intensity of the processes was highly phenomenal and considerably high in younger stands up to 20 years. Thus, an appropriate management cycle of the Alnus-cardamom system for sustainability is 15-20 years.

Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas: Project Learning

The three publications and DVD Film on Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas Policy Guidelines, Project Learning, and Training of Trainers Manual . encapsulate the experiences and lessons from a recent project on 'Incorporating the Needs and Roles of Women in Water and Energy Management in Rural Areas in South Asia'. The UNEP and ICIMOD project was supported by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) and carried out by local partners in selected sites in Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The project focused on building women's capacity to organise themselves, to identify and prioritise their water and energy needs, to introduce technologies to reduce the time and effort involved in water and energy management, and to use the time saved in income-generating activities. 'Project Learning' summarises the rationale and approach used in the project, the implementation process, and the impacts in the project areas. 'Policy Guidelines' highlights the importance of bringing the gender perspective to water and energy policy analysis and design and describes a conceptual framework for developing gender sensitive water and energy policies. The 'ToT Manual' provides learning tools for carrying out gender analysis, mobilising communities, identifying prioritised needs and solutions, and designing and using gender sensitive participatory action planning in water and energy and other related fields. The film tells the story of the project and brings to life the problems outlined, and the technologies and solutions described in the other publications. What was striking was that a few simple technologies in the water and energy sectors had a substantial impact on the lives of the women even within the short time frame of the project. A woman centric approach focusing on the expressed needs of women in both energy and water can make a difference in reducing poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. It is a powerful entry point for engendering development and empowering women. The publications will be useful to policy makers, planners, and development specialists in national institutions, NGOs, and donor agencies engaged in engendering development and empowering women, especially in mountain areas. Policy makers and rural development practitioners can pick from these experiences those that are useful or suitable to their particular needs for replication and upscaling.

Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas: Training of Trainers Manual

Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas – Training of Trainers Manual provides learning tools for carrying out gender analysis, mobilising communities, identifying prioritised needs and solutions, and designing and using gender sensitive participatory action planning in water and energy and other related fields.

Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas: Integrated of Women in Planning and Management: Policy Guidelines

The three publications and DVD Film on Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas Policy Guidelines, Project Learning, and Training of Trainers Manual . encapsulate the experiences and lessons from a recent project on 'Incorporating the Needs and Roles of Women in Water and Energy Management in Rural Areas in South Asia'. The UNEP and ICIMOD project was supported by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) and carried out by local partners in selected sites in Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The project focused on building women's capacity to organise themselves, to identify and prioritise their water and energy needs, to introduce technologies to reduce the time and effort involved in water and energy management, and to use the time saved in income-generating activities. 'Project Learning' summarises the rationale and approach used in the project, the implementation process, and the impacts in the project areas. 'Policy Guidelines' highlights the importance of bringing the gender perspective to water and energy policy analysis and design and describes a conceptual framework for developing gender sensitive water and energy policies. The 'ToT Manual' provides learning tools for carrying out gender analysis, mobilising communities, identifying prioritised needs and solutions, and designing and using gender sensitive participatory action planning in water and energy and other related fields. The film tells the story of the project and brings to life the problems outlined, and the technologies and solutions described in the other publications. What was striking was that a few simple technologies in the water and energy sectors had a substantial impact on the lives of the women even within the short time frame of the project. A woman centric approach focusing on the expressed needs of women in both energy and water can make a difference in reducing poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. It is a powerful entry point for engendering development and empowering women. The publications will be useful to policy makers, planners, and development specialists in national institutions, NGOs, and donor agencies engaged in engendering development and empowering women, especially in mountain areas. Policy makers and rural development practitioners can pick from these experiences those that are useful or suitable to their particular needs for replication and upscaling.

Solar Greenhouses for the Trans-Himalayas: A Construction Manual

The Renewable Energy and Environment Group GERES, supported by its partners, has developed a solar greenhouse specifically designed for vegetable production in winter in the high altitude areas of the trans-Himalayas, where night temperatures can fall to as low as -20DC or more. The greenhouse was tested by NGOs working with farmers in five different trans-Himalayan areas and practical improvements made that ensure that the design is appropriate for the resources available in these high mountain areas. The results of this work are encapsulated in this manual. The theory of solar greenhouses in general, and of this design in particular, are described together with the requirements and constraints for construction. The manual provides blueprints for greenhouses for different types of site and climate, together with a detailed description of the different steps involved in the construction process. Using this manual, it will be possible for NGOs and other technical organisations to support farmers in choosing, designing, and constructing an appropriate greenhouse for their particular circumstances. The increased access to winter vegetables and exotic summer produce can improve the quality of life and income generation opportunities of small farmers in some of the most marginalised areas of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas.

Energy efficiency of large cardamom grown under Himalayan alder and natural forest

Energy efficiency of agroforestry systems of large cardamom grown under N2-fixing Himalayan alder (alder-cardamom) and natural forest (forest-cardamom) was studied in the Sikkim Himalaya. Large cardamom (Amomum subulatum), the most important perennial cash crop of the region, is widely cultivated with Himalayan alder (Alnus nepalensis) as shade tree. Energy fixation, storage, net allocation in agronomic yield, and heat release and exit from the system were respectively 1.57, 1.44, 2.24 and 2.22 times higher in the alder-cardamom compared to the forest-cardamom system. Energy conversion efficiency and net ecosystem energy increment were also higher in the alder-cardamom than the forest-cardamom system. Energy fixation efficiency and energy conversion efficiency of large cardamom increased under the influence of Himalayan alder. Energy efficiency in N2-fixation of Himalayan alder was also high (67.5 g N2 fixed 104 kJ-1 energy). Quantum and flux of energy increased in the alder-cardamom compared to the forest-cardamom system that optimized the production potential of the cash crop under the influence of the Himalayan alder. Climatic sympatry of the large cardamom and Himalayan alder, and their synergetic energy efficiency makes this association ecologically and economically viable for the mountain regions.

Profiting from Sunshine - Passive Solar Building in the Mountains

In the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) Region it is difficult to keep houses warm during winter. Usually biomass fuels are burned for cooking and space heating. Using biomass fuels has resulted in large-scale deforestation and ill effects on the health of mountain people, especially women and children, from the smoke produced. Solar radiation is available in most parts, and it is sensible to take solar energy consciously into consideration in designing buildings in order to reduce the use of biomass fuels for space heating. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is committed to improving the living standards of people living in the HKH Region. In the light of this objective, the Centre organised workshops on Passive Solar Building Technologies in China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan to establish a network of institutions involved in promoting Passive Solar Building Technology (PSBT) in mountain areas. The state-of-the art reviews clearly indicated that concrete efforts had been made in China and India to promote a solar passive heating programme, whereas there have been individual efforts in Nepal and Pakistan to build passive solar homes. The compilation of these papers in a comprehensive and concise manner should help to share knowledge about new developments in the respective countries as a means of promoting PSBTs in mountain areas. This book, the first of its kind, provides an overview of the (i) National Workshops; (ii) Potentials for Application of PSBTs in Mountain Areas; (iii) Fundamentals of Solar Energy and Solar Radiation; (iv) State of the Art in Solar Passive Technologies; (v) Solar Passive Building Designs in the Mountains; (vi) Building Materials for Hilly and Mountain Areas; (vii) Application and Design of Passive Solar Systems for Buildings; and (viii) Issues and Future Directions required for the promotion of PSBTs in mountain areas of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region. Overall, concrete solutions are needed to introduce solar passive building concepts in the HKH Region. Understanding climate, traditional architecture, construction materials, and construction techniques is important for optimum passive building designs, and this book attempts to provide some insights. The following activities are recommended: (i) analysis and classification of climatic conditions in the HKH Region; (ii) study of vernacular architecture and identification of passive building elements; (iii) study of urban architecture; (iv) selection of an appropriate thermal simulation programme; (v) creation of a database and thermophysical properties of building materials and traditional building components; (vi) quantification of individual design patterns, for example, direct gain, indirect gain, thermal storage, solarium, cavity insulation, building form, roof shape, and underground structure; and (vii) preparation of manuals on design guidelines, design context, and construction issues. The information and knowledge thus prepared should then be disseminated to architects, users, and the construction industry, in both the formal and informal sectors. Design guidelines have not been provided for rural mountain areas anywhere in the world. Any initiative in this respect would help improve the health, efficiency, and lifestyles of rural people residing in mountain areas.

A Place in the Sun: Options for Space Heating in the Mountains.

Cold climates and harsh living conditions associated with rapid deforestation and indoor air pollution make the prospects of using solar energy exciting. The text examines availability of solar energy in the HKH region and the options for its application. Issues arising and a legislative framework are also discussed along with recommendations for its promotion.

Energy Use in Mountain Areas : Trends and Patterns in China, India, Nepal and Pakistan

This publication summarises the main findings of a set of studies on energy use patterns in the HKH region carried out in four countries separately, namely, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The results of the studies were used to prepare energy balance tables for the HKH Region of each country and to identify issues emerging concerning energy use. The issues identified were: prevailing unsustainable trends in energy supply and demand in the mountains; inharmonious energy transitions, on the one hand towards non-monetised, low quality energy form and on the other towards non-renewable fossil fuels; wrong choice of energy resources and technologies as a result of a perspective related to both quality and quantity of energy in programme design; ignorance of the bio-physical aspects of mountain areas; weak gender participation; lack of understanding of sociocultural issues; lack of a suitable institutional framework to promote decentralized renewable energy technologies; and the methodological dilemma of internalizing environmental concerns.The publication also proposes a four-pronged strategy for sustainable energy development in the mountains. First, programmes must be geared towards increasing wood resources on a large scale and to upgrading the quality of biomass fuels in order to meet cooking and heating needs. Second, energy policies for mountain areas should emphasise new and renewable decentralized resources and technologies (via rural electrification or motive power generation), not only in order to sustain and increase economic activities but also to reduce human drudgery, particularly that of women and children. Third, efficient energy technologies should be promoted to facilitate improvements in the physical quality of life and achieve a significant reduction in health hazards. Fourth, large-scale development of hydropower should be initiated, in order to generate revenue for alleviating the existing poverty of mountain communities and to develop social and physical infrastructures suitable for these communities. At the same time, care must be taken not only to internalize the associated environmental costs into these projects, but also to ensure that such development results in the overall development of mountain areas.The publication also describes the various policy and institutional measures that need to be taken so that sustainable development of the energy sector in the HKH Region can became a feasible proposition. These measures are: a) removal of the existing distortion in prices; b) encouragement of entrepreneurs; c) promotion of technology transfer and more efficient fuel use; c) dissemination of information on suitable technological options; d) enforcement of regulations, standards, and codes for the promotion of economic and allocative efficiency; e) performance of R&D to develop low-cost and efficient mountain region-specific renewable energy technologies; f) encouraging the development of participation of, and a greater decision-making role for, women in energy programmes; and h) initiating various programmes for building capabilities at the local level.

Implications of National Policies on Renewable Energy Technologies; Report of the Regional Experts' Consultation

This report summarises the discussions held and recommendations made at the Regional Experts Consultation on Implications of National Policies on Renewable Energy Technologies organized by ICIMOD from 2-3 July 1997 with support from Canadian Cooperation Office in Kathmandu. The Objectives of the consultation were to assess the implications of national policies on Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) in the context of the HKH Region, to identify factors that influence the adoption of RETs in relation to particular socioeconomic and biophysical settings, and to recommend policy packages for the development of RETs for the mountain areas of Nepal. The meeting reviewed and discussed various policies that had hampered the sustainable growth of RETs in the mountain communities of the HKH region with particular reference to China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The meeting helped to clarify the role energy can play in reducing drudgery, in reducing environmental degradation, and in providing linkages between energy and income generation. Also identified during the meeting was the necessity of compatibility of technology design to suit local conditions, private sector participation in the development of RETs and the affordability of RET devices by mountain communities. All of these factors are critical for improving the financial viability of RETs. The meeting was instrumental in proposing a framework for policy recommendations to promote the development of renewable energy resources and technologies in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region. During the meeting, four case studies carried out in Nepal were discussed: a) Mini-and Micro-hydropower; b) Solar Photovoltaic Technology; c) Biogas Plants; and d) Improved Cooking Stoves. The meeting also charged out policy and institutional measures suitable for Nepal.

Sustainable Energy Use for Mountain Areas: Community-level Energy Planning and Management

Increasing difficulties and drudgery are faced in mountain areas because of diminishing resources of rural energy caused by inefficient use of fuelwood, increasing reliance on biomass, and a consequent loss to agriculture when crop and animal wastes are used as fuel. Lack of proper mechanisms means that a significant increase in the use of renewable energy technologies has not occured, although some governments have attempted wide-scale introduction of such. People's participation and decentralized community - level action programmes are one approach to assessing energy needs, determining appropriate technologies, and promoting their use. Integrated efforts from all stake-holders are an essential given. So far, energy programmes have had a negligible effect on unsustainable energy use patterns in the mountains.

Energy Use in Mountain Areas: Emerging Issues and Future Priorities; Report of Regional Meeting

This report summarises the discussions held and suggestions made at the Regional Meeting on Energy Use in Mountain Areas organized by ICIMOD from 16-18 April 1997. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the findings of the studies commissioned by ICIMOD in four countries, namely, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, and to identify future priorities FOR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT. Two focal areas were covered in the discussions: i) emerging issues in energy use; and ii) energy policies and programmes. With a broadened understanding of these issues, future priorities for energy development in the mountains were discussed and several suggestions were made with regard to both policies and studies to improve understanding. The meeting addressed issues related to database and planning, energy development and its sectoral linkages, energy resources and technological options, and subsidies and incentives for renewable energy technologies. The meeting was useful in promoting understanding of emerging trends in energy use in mountain areas. These trends are: prevailing unsustainability of the energy supply and demand in the mountains; inharmonious energy transitions, on the one hand, towards non-monetised low quality energy forms and, on the other, towards non-renewable fossil fuels; wrong choice of energy resources and technologies due to lack of a quality and quantity perspective in energy programme design; ignorance of the biophysical aspects of the mountains; and the methodological dilemma of having to internalize environmental costs. On the energy policy and programme front, the meeting identified the following issues: accommodation of multiple interest groups in decision-making; lack of technology and institutional policies; lack of sectoral linkages at the policy level; lack of vision with respect to technology choice; and insufficient focus on research and development of new energy systems. The meeting suggested that the role of every stakeholder involved be recognized and that more emphasis be given to ensure the active participation of women in the design and implementation of energy programmes. The meeting identified important areas for ICIMOD's future activities related to the energy sector. These are related to understanding and comprehending energy use variability in those economic sectors that have comparative advantages for alleviating poverty in mountain areas. Due recognition needs to be given to possible impacts on environmental conditions in fragile mountain areas and human health in opting for a particular energy mix. In this respect, factors that promote renewable energy technologies (RETs) adaptation need to be understood and sustainable energy policies and programmes need to bedeveloped.The meeting emphasized that continued efforts are needed in programme advocacy, information exchange, sharing of knowledge, and increased capacities in the field of mountain energy systems.

Energy Budget and Efficiency of Some Multiple Cropping Systems in Sikkim Himalaya

Energy budgets of some multiple cropping system of Eastern Himalaya are investigated and compared with those of the Central Himalaya. Cropping pattern of irrigated fields was similar in both Himalayan regions but it was different in rainfed fields. Contribution of inputs among different crops was dissimilar in these regions. The contribution of seed input was higher in associated crops (ginger and soybean) than the main crops (maize and rice). The labour input was greater for main crops, however its contribution to the total energy input was lower than the associated crops. In Eastern Himalaya input of chemical fertilizer was greater than the Central Himalaya. The patterns of rainfed fields were more productive than the irrigated fields. The system was most efficient for maize + soybean pattem with respect to agronomic prod~cti0JL. and rice + soybean pattem with respect to total energy output. In comparison with the Central Himalaya, multiple cropping systems of the Eastern Himalaya were more efficient.

Rural Energy Planning for The Indian Himalaya

This book is perhaps the first effort to focus on energy issues in the Indian Himalayas. Though a lot has been written on the ecological consequences (of energy-related activities), these energy issues by themselves have not received sufficient attention. The papers in this volume have been selected from those commissioned by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, and the Tata Energy Research Institute as a part of their collaborative programme on rural energy planning. As it was found that critical gaps exist in knowledge and experience in the area of effective diffusion of energy technologies for promoting Himalayan development, it was felt that a collection of papers on the existing states-of-the-art would be a useful first step before embarking on practical interventions. There are papers that have focussed on technologies, planning issues and economic welfare aspects relevant to development in all the different regions of the Himalayas. Some authors have focussed instead on the regions and have looked at the status of the three subject areas (technologies, planning and welfare) as they pertain to their regions. The major value of this book is that in addition to a clear articulation of problems, issues and possible solutions, it represents a comprehensive collection of information existing for this region. The authors have also brought out the gaps that exist currently and have established priorities for further research and direction for programmes to promote sustainable development of energy resources and their use in the Himalayan region.

Ecodevelopment of Riparian Ecosystems

Ecologically the river banks that remain flooded for a few weeks and experience erosion, silting, agricultural operations, grazing and variety of human influences like defecating, bathing, and mass-scale cloth washing, sewage discharges, etc. represent a distinct ecosystem different from the mainland terrestrial and the river ecosystems. This habitat is in a state of rapid flux in all system functions such as in nutrient input, storage and outflows, soil dynamics, deposition of seeds and plantlets of far off places brought by flood waters, and a variety of allogenic forces. On the riparian ecosystems on the banks of R.Ganga ( at Varanasi) and its tributares, R. Taruna ( at Rajghat- Varanasi) and R. Gomti ( at Jaunpur) have been under ecological investigations for ecosystem structure and functioning. A number of herbaceous species have been experimentally tested for their soil binding capacity, biomass accumulation, rate of net solar energy fixation, energy conserving efficiency, soil erosion, silt load, nutrient cycling etc. This paper gives an ecomodel of the riparian ecosystem dynamics and outlines the eco- development strategies for the proper and long range use and stability of the habitat. It is found that the present condition is highly unsatisfactory on the banks of all three there rivers. There is a high rate of resource depletion with respect to soil nutrients, texture, structure, permanent vegetation, water quality, carrying capacity of water, etc. These can be overcome by plantation of adapted trees on river curvatures, cultivation of agricultural crops intermixed with strips of perennial grasses with very high soil conservation values as estimated by us, control of sewer and industrial discharges in the rivers, etc.

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