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Multipurpose use of water: becoming resilient to changing climate

November 27, 2017
The livelihood of people in Nepal is mainly based on the traditional farming system. It provides employment opportunities to 66 percent of the total population and contributes about 34.7 percent in the GDP (Economic Survey: 069/70). But in recent years, the water availability in rivers is decreasing and the natural springs are drying up due to change in variability of climate, deforestation and rapid population growth. This has caused negative impacts in agriculture, biodiversity, livelihood and water resources including climate induced natural disasters like flood, landslide and drought.
To become resilient to these changes, effective use of the available water is one of the best options to mitigate the water problem. Multipurpose use of water is a simple and effective way to manage the available water.
There is an example of multipurpose use of water in Haku village of Tatopani Rural Municipality at Jumla. Where, the water is distributed to different sectors through same canal. Irrigation, household cleaning, micro-hydropower all are sharing water from the same canal. Apart from that, traditional water mills and modern rice mills are also using the same water canal. It has benefitted 156 households in total. One of the best part of this practice is, there is a harmony in sharing water among the different sectors. For example, the micro-hydropower is operated in mornings and evenings, water mills in day time and irrigation in night time.
Multipurpose use of water has been envisioned by different policies of Nepal such as Water Resource Strategies, National Water Plan and Climate Change Policy. We can replicate this community based water adaptation practices to other parts of the country to cope with the climate change impacts.
  • Haku Village, almost all of the villagers livelihood is based on agriculture one way or another. The field below is where they grow crops.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal
  • Community built small dams over Gidi Khola around 1.5 km above the upstream. The water in the canal is taken from this river.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal
  • Water from the one canal in Haku is used for micro-hydro, washing clothes and in agriculture. Multipurpose use of water is simple and effective way to manage the available water.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal
  • Children posing after swimming on hot day. They often found swimming in the water canal as it is more safer and nearer for them than the river.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal
  • Woman washing clothes on canal.
    Haku, Juma Nepal
  • Man prepares field suitable for planting rice seedlings. Usually in field, work which needs more muscle were done by men.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal
  • Group of women withdrawing rice seedling from nursery, which later planted in paddy field.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal
  • Due to well availability of water people often plant rice in two season. Planting and harvesting both can be seen here.
    Haku, Jumla Nepal