IWMI’s research initiatives aim to improve water availability and access.
Water availability and access are key constraints to poverty reduction and food security. Maintaining enough water for agriculture will become increasingly difficult due to climate change and competition for water with urban users, industry and the environment.
IWMI’s research initiatives aim to improve water availability and access in river basins, broaden our understanding of how major drivers of change influence water availability and access, and devise adaptive management strategies to deal with these changes.
IWMI is seeking partners and funds for the following research projects.
Sustainable Storage Development in the Greater Himalaya Region
The ambitious targets set by the National Water Plan will require rapid development of water infrastructure, including storage facilities, which are essential for mitigation of floods and droughts and long-term food security.
There is a need, therefore, to reexamine natural and artificial storage options in the light of climate change and overall national water needs, and to develop a comprehensive plan for storage development.
The aim of this research initiative is to facilitate conceptual rethinking of water storage and broaden perspectives on storage options among farmers, policymakers, donors and researchers.
Water Storage at Source (S@S) in Upland Watersheds in Nepal
In Nepal, 80-90% of rainfall occurs during the monsoonal months from July to September. Huge volumes of water frequently cause flooding, while the short duration of the monsoonal season leads to water scarcity in the dry season. To mitigate floods and droughts means delaying the flow of water during the wet season and building water storage infrastructure to hold water for distribution in the dry season.
The purpose of this initiative is to assess measures that can be undertaken to create a distributed system of water storage in upland watersheds.
Environmental Water Needs – Developing a National Methodology
Development of water infrastructure to meet the growing demand for irrigation, energy, and urban and domestic needs will put enormous pressure on the aquatic environment. Sustainable agriculture, fisheries and other livelihood strategies require that environmental water demands be incorporated in the planning stage of development projects. Nepal’s water resources are currently underdeveloped, which makes now an ideal time to introduce environmental water thresholds into the overall national water management strategy.
The purpose of this initiative is to develop a methodology to quantify environmental flow requirements in Nepal, and to make flow calculations an integral part of the national WRIS.
Avoiding Future Drought Losses – A National Perspective
While Nepal is not generally seen as a drought-prone country, it does in fact experience frequent drought events. The last such event was a severe winter drought lasting from October 2008 to May 2009.
The purpose of this initiative is to conduct a post-drought analysis by using cost estimates of the damage caused by the above mentioned drought. These figures would help estimate the investments necessary to minimize the cost of damage caused by future droughts. The study will also examine coping strategies and suitable technologies that smallholder farmers can use to reduce risks and vulnerabilities.
Making the National Water Plan Operational: The Case of the Bagmati River Basin
Within the GoN, WECS is at the apex of policy and planning formulation for developing and managing the nation’s water resources in a river basin context. The challenge now is to translate these policy documents into practice.
The purpose of this initiative is to operationalize the National Water Plan by providing some of the required tools and methods using the Bagmati River Basin as an example.
Rejuvenating Irrigation in Nepal
This initiative will examine various ways to enhance the performance of the irrigation sector. The proposed research is aimed at resolving difficulties within the existing framework of policy and legislation; enhancing the role of civil society actors in irrigation management; improving the O&M of irrigation systems; and identifying new investments needed to develop irrigation facilities, including the development of groundwater resources
Benefits of Integrated Development of the Ganges River Basin under Changing Climatic Conditions
The Ganges River Basin is shared by China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh People here are among the poorest in the world, despite the basin’s rich natural endowments of land and water. Harmonized, integrated development of the Ganges Basin could ensure food security, socioeconomic development and environmental protection, as well as political stability in the region. Coordinated basin development could also become a key strategy for adaptation to climate change. The key potential areas for collaboration are hydropower, improved agricultural water management, and flood and drought management.
The purpose of this initiative is to quantify spatiotemporal water availability and demand in the Ganges Basin, assess the impact of climate change and future water resources development, and document the potential benefits of integrated regional basin development.
Photo Credit: IWMI