Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate impacts, especially in the water sector where resources have been significantly depleted. One of the most susceptible districts is Ramechap, located above the Sunkoshi River, where the land is extremely dry and decreasing precipitation is severely impacting farmers. Water resources are especially vulnerable at high elevations where they are more sensitive to variability in rainfall patterns and timing, which contribute to increased drought frequency.
Water resources for irrigation are the most profoundly affected, as landslides and debris flow have destroyed channels and stopped the water flow in streams, also lessening the availability of water for agricultural purposes. People have begun to look for other methods to fulfill their water needs, but efforts to address the major problem of disappearing springs and hill water have been insufficient, as various institutions have neglected water scarcity due to their limited capacity.
Adaptation programs focusing on integrated water resources management are urgently needed. Barriers to the implementation of adaptation programs addressing watershed and hydrology include lacking financial resources, access to information and relevant technical data, infrastructure, skills and expertise, the lack of skilled personnel for the installation and operation of technologies, high levels of debt, and social practices, beliefs and norms that prevent the acceptance of climate adaptation options.
The proposed project will address issues related to integrated water resources management for the Hill ecosystem through supporting the design of reviving ponds to increase water availability, providing irrigation for agriculture, and implementing agroforestry practices to support the livelihoods of local people.
The project aims to address water scarcity problems by rehabilitating the traditional ponds in the community and developing new water management technology and infrastructure for water harvesting, groundwater recharge and solar lifting. Other activities include the formation of a farmers group and capacity development for agroforestry using harvested water, promotion of sprinkler and drip irrigation technology, and the dissemination of findings, including technical aspects, cost-benefit analyses, and operational guidelines for short and long-term income generation activities connected with the technologies.
The project will contribute to increased livelihoods, biodiversity and social development in the form of knowledge transfer to the community. Agroforestry and vegetable farming activities will increase economic benefits and provide opportunities for capacity development. The project will contribute to Nepal’s NDC more generally through its work on three thematic areas of the NDC: Agriculture and Food Security; Forests, Biodiversity and Watershed Conservation; and Water Resources and Energy. It will also contribute through increasing water harvesting and supply, which directly aligns with the NDC measure on promoting rainwater harvesting and ponds construction. Through its focus on agroforestry, it will address the Afforestation and Enhancing Carbon Sequestration program.