Building Climate Resilience of Watersheds in Mountain Eco-Regions of Nepal: Monitoring the impacts of watershed interventions

Building Climate Resilience of Watersheds in Mountain Eco-Regions (BCRWME) is the first component of Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR) of Nepal. The ADB provided the Project Preparatory Technical Assistance (PPTA) to develop the BCRWME. The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) funded a parallel grant for Strategic Technical Assistance (TA). The TA is directly associated with, and complementary to, the BCRWME Project, by providing support to strengthen the participatory development processes and reinforce the core activities of the BCRWME. The Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM) is the executing agency of the BCRWME project. The NDF financing will comprise of two interrelated packages: (i) NDF Package 1: Advisory and capacity building services; and (ii) NDF Package 2: Watershed Hydrology Impact Monitoring Research. The DSCWM is the executing agency for both the packages, with a Project Director (PD) who will also be heading the Project Management Unit (PMU). The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) leads the NDF – Package 2. The BCRWME project emerged as a result of previous ADB funded work in Nepal where IWMI was directly contracted to identify and prioritize river basins/sub-basins that are significantly vulnerable to CC, followed by an assessment of the impacts of CC and watershed management interventions for “sample” watersheds through the use of hydrological models (Siddiqui, et al, 2012, Gurung, et al, 2013). The BCRWME project sites were mainly based on IWMI’s vulnerability assessment and a part of the watershed intervention planning was also based on IWMI’s modeling work. IWMI also provided advice to introduce watershed management plans that focus on water. Therefore, spring management became a primary element of the project. The main aim of the BCRWME project is to implement watershed development activities that will help increase the reliability and availability of water in hill and mountain watersheds in the Far West of Nepal, under changing climate conditions. The Intervention project worth over 3 mill Euro is funded by Nordic Development Fund (NDF). Possible interventions may include: afforestation of degraded lands, infiltration ponds and small water storage reservoirs, on-farm water conservation. IWMI is to monitor the hydrological impacts of these interventions. This 5-year monitoring and evaluation program will aim to understand the groundwater-surface water system of the two small upland watersheds and specifically - the type and behavior of several point water sources present there (spring as well as stream water collection points ) – that ensure provisioning ecosystem service for local population. The main effort of the project is in the first two years, when the monitoring network is setup and baseline assessments are made. The project will provide a methodology for correct identification and classification of the different types of point water sources, identification of their respective recharge areas and assessment of the impacts of the above watershed management interventions on these water sources.