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Critical socio-economic issues for livelihood and water security in Nepal


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Presented by IWMI researcher Fraser Sugden, at a high level policy dialog held in Kathmandu Nepal, on April 27, 2016.

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Critical socio-economic issues for livelihood and water security in Nepal

  2. 2. 1. Water security and equity • Water security in Nepal is intricately connected to one’s position in the social structure. • Vulnerability to water induced disasters can depend on the capacity of households to protect their crops or homesteads • With regards to water for climate change adaptation, access is as big a problem as availability.
  3. 3. Water access for groundwater and land tenure Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  4. 4. Spatial geography of inequality and water security Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  5. 5. 2. Convergence of climatic and economic stress • Too much focus on climate as a singular driver of change • Climate induced water stress combines with economic pressures such as price rises for inputs – unique pattern of vulnerability. • Different groups follow varied strategies to ‘adapt’ - with long term consequences for agrarian development and wellbeing.
  6. 6. Monetisation, debt, and irrigation costs eastern Tarai-Madhesh: Two patterns of ‘disinvestment’ Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  7. 7. 3. Migration, gender and water • Male out- migration is critical part of livelihoods at a time of agrarian stress and climate change • This is paving the way for an unprecedented range of new water access challenges • Gendered water access has taken on a new dimension
  8. 8. Women’s work burden and constraints to take up new crops - even with access to water Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  9. 9. 4. Migration and collective action • Migration has resulted in a new set of social constraints to collective action • Farmer and agency managed irrigation systems are under stress • Women have failed to take on formerly ‘male roles’ in public sphere, despite their newfound on farm responsibilities
  10. 10. Breakdown of indigenous irrigation institutions in Bajhang Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  11. 11. 5. Combining institutional and technical solutions • In the context of the stresses outlined thus far, a key priority is to build resilience to agrarian stress through both technical and socio-economic solutions • Important component is engaging with government and non-government partners in ‘action research’ partnerships
  12. 12. Energy solutions for marginal farmers Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  13. 13. MUS: a promising approach for food security and gender equality Photo: Floriane Clement / IWMI
  14. 14. Rethinking the agricultural collective – labour, land and technology pooling for tenant farmers Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  15. 15. Working with water user committees in earthquake affected zones Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  16. 16. • Sustainable development of Nepal’s hydrological resources for energy generation is critical for both climate change resilience and economic growth • Persisting energy crisis in irrigation (dependence on diesel) • Water storage to manage seasonal scarcity – significant irrigation potential • Yet, there are equity trade offs 6. Contested hydropower development
  17. 17. Fishing communities in the Koshi floodplains Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  18. 18. Conclusion • What are the critical challenges for water management and water security in Nepal in an era of climatic, economic and demographic stress and the post- earthquake context? • What are the solutions and what investment and management decisions are needed? • How can IWMI’s work in Nepal contribute to national priorities in the water sector Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI
  19. 19. Thank you Photo: Fraser Sugden / IWMI