The Hindu Kush Himalya (HKH) is witness to a great range of biopysical changes; however, there are a great many changes for the communities that reside in the upstream and downstream regions of the HKH. A demographic transisition is occuring in many countries of the HKH, where massive out-migration is being seen. Next to little growth in rural regions, has forced many to migrate to urban centres in search for better employment opportunities. This has in turn put additional pressures on the exisitng water resources within the region, where varous ad-hoc measures have been taken in urban centres. With more mouths seeking water, the demand for water far exceeds municipal supply in many major mountain cities in the HKH.
At a recent conference in Kathmandu, Anjal Prakash (Programme Coordinator, HI-AWARE) and Bashudev Neupane (HI-AWARE Fellow), presented on some of these emerging issues on water resources in Nepal. The conference, Water, Environment and Climate Change: Knowledge Sharing and Partnership, took place between the 10th and 12th of April, in Kathmandu. The conference saw partiipants
Anjal Prakash's presentation focused on a study carried out on urban water issues being faced in Kathmandu. As expected, it was found that the poorest bear the maximum brunt of water scarcity that is increasing with a buregioning population in Kathmandu. The residents of the city have devised various means to cope with scarcity: digging their own wells, buying water from private water tanker suppliers, and investing in storage tanks. Interesting, a water tanker economy has emerged where 30% of households in the study have been found to buy water from tankers. The total annual financial annual transaction costs have been estimated at USD 14.5 million.
Bashudev's presentation focused on the hydrogeologic perpsectives of lakes and ponds in the midddle hill regions of the Gandaki basin. Based on research carried ou in the Ilam Pokhari area of the Lamjung district, Neupane's research found that of the total number of lakes and ponds, a quarter have no significant change, about 27% have been found with moderate reduction in size, and about 20% report siginificant reduction, while the rest have disappeared. The conclusion was that more focus is required when it comes to lake hydrology. Accurately measruing the hydrological and geological changes would provide consistent and reliable hydro and met. data and further be of use in sustainable planning of lake conservation in Nepal.
A copy of the presentation on water securiy, can be accsessed at this link.