Koshi river basin to be managed in integrated way

Kathmandu, January 3:

Seventeen districts under the watershed areas of the Koshi river and its tributaries in the eastern Nepal are being integrated into a long-term conservation programme under the name of Koshi River Basin Management (KBRM).

The programme is being envisaged by the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) of the government with technical support from WWF Nepal.

“We will cover all the areas of the eastern Nepal, which are considered important from the point of view of water, wetland, wildlife, vegetation and indigenous culture in one big programme,” said Neera Pradhan, programme manager. This is the first initiative of its kind in the country and the main objective is to explore partnership and formulate a vision for conservation, she said. The districts to be covered are: Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Udayapur, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Saptari, Taplejung, Terhathum, Dhankuta, Panchthar, and Sunsari. The programme will bring Sagarmatha National Park, Makalu-Varun National Park, Kanchanjunga Conservation Area and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve Area under a single umbrella institution.

Pradhan said the formulation of KBRM as a pilot programme was guided by the National Water Plan, a 25-year plan of the government to manage water for all purposes. A joint team of the government and WWF will soon visit selected areas to be covered by the programme and will prepare a strategic paper within a year, she said.

The importance of river basin management, instead of a project-to-project basis, lies in the inherent interrelation of water and land resources to form a unit. This approach focuses development and management of water, land and related resources to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of ecosystem. Executive secretary of the WECS, Ram Krishna Tiwari, said the project will generate necessary information on resources within Koshi river basin to ensure their wise use.