The Mid Mountain watersheds of Nepal are prone to multi hazards (drought, landslides, and floods) and the impacts are magnifying due to its topographic settings, inappropriate anthropogenic activities, and adverse impacts of climate change. Climate change is intensifying the monsoon rainfall and is causing accelerated snow and glacial melt rates. The disastrous trends are increasing and contributing to more multi hazard problems causing damages to agricultural land, physical assets, economic properties, and ecosystem services.
At the other extreme, water scarcity and climate induced drought hazard have been emerging as one of the major challenges in the mid-hill watersheds in Nepal. The drought stresses in combination with other hazards and socio-economic conditions of local communities, the problem is exacerbating and making society more vulnerable, and sometimes becoming environmental causes of displacement. The temporal and spatial variability of rainfall and runoff is intensifying the problem of excess water during the monsoon and water scarcity during the dry season creating serious threat on the farming system, and food security.
A long-term solution to this climate change problem is to rehabilitate and maintain functional integrity of watersheds that have critical functions of water storage and release, infiltration, drainage control with due emphasis on resilient livelihood development. Nepal is transferred into the federal system and the constitution of Nepal is giving the roles and responsibilities among three spheres of government for managing the natural resources, disaster risk, and climate changes issues. The coordination and harmonization of policy and institutional frame, adoption of adaptive innovative technology, and building community stewardship are becoming critically important to address these multifaceted problems. To address this, a pioneer initiative is taken through Global Environment Facility (GEF)-Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF) project “Developing climate resilient livelihoods in the vulnerable watershed in Nepal”. The project is being implementing at the pilot scale in Lower Dudhkoshi watershed, major tributary of Sunkoshi sub basin, located in eastern part of Nepal.
This project focuses on safeguarding vulnerable communities and their assets from climate change-induced disasters by applying a long-term, multi-hazard approach – with a particular stewardship role for women and marginalized communities. The project also aims to address the functional integrity of pilot watershed through capturing the policy, institutional knowledge gaps, adoption of new tools and techniques, and interventions of multiple activities at pilot scale.
The project area is the confluence of Dudhkoshi and Sunkoshi at the boundary between Khotang and Okhadhunga districts in the eastern part of the country in province 1. The project will focus activities in Lower Dudhkoshi watershed that comprises 844 km2, 8 local government units “palikas” (5 at Khotang and 3 at Okhaldhunga), and 51 wards. The other adjoining watersheds Molung, Likhu, Sunkoshi canyon are being considered for watershed assessment.
- Siddhicharan Municipality
- Manebhanjyang Rural Municipality
- Chisankhugadhi Rural Municipality
- Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi Municipality
- Halesi Tuwachung Municipality
- Ainselukharka Rural Municipality
- Kepilasgadhi Rural Municipality
- Rawabesi Rural Municipality