The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $23.5 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund for a project that will ensure the water supply for use in the home and for agriculture for about 45,000 households is more consistent during the dry season. The project is one of five components of Nepal’s Strategic Program for Climate Resilience.
“This is the first large-scale intervention by ADB in watershed management in Nepal,” said Cindy Malvicini, Senior Water Resources Specialist with ADB’s South Asia Department. “We expect the lessons from this project will influence the ways in which rural water supply and irrigation projects are designed elsewhere.”
According to a press release of ADB, Nepal is particularly susceptible to climate change and existing threats to food, water, and livelihoods are expected to worsen. The project will work in watersheds in six districts in the Far-Western Development Region: Achham, Baitaidi, Bajhang, Bajura, Dadeldhura, and Doti, which depend on agriculture but are already suffering water shortages.
Better water management and storage will be implemented through some 100 community subprojects, which will rehabilitate and protect the areas around water sources in order to improve the yield of those sources. They may also build water collection ponds and drinking water tanks to storage water during dry months. This is expected to benefit women and disadvantaged groups, who often have access only to less reliable water sources and suffer disproportionally by spending more time or walking greater distances to secure water during times of shortage.
The project will also educate communities on water conservation practices, including micro-irrigation, methods for maintaining soil moisture in agriculture, grazing and fodder management, and ways to regenerate vegetative cover.
The executing agency is the Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management. On top of ADB’s funding, the Nordic Development Fund will provide up to $4.63 million in complementary technical assistance, and the Government of Nepal will provide $1.94 million. The project is due for completion in 2020.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2012, ADB assistance totaled $21.6 billion, including cofinancing of $8.3 billion.