Nepal is not usually considered a water scarce country, enjoying an average annual rainfall between 1500mm to 3000mm. However, many parts of Nepal do experience water shortages.
Its mountainous character, with very steep active slopes, makes the country increasingly vulnerable to environmental degradation. Deforestation and overgrazing trigger soil erosion and increased surface runoff, causing springs and small rivers to be blocked and not replenished by rain. Due to climate change rainfall is more erratic, exacerbating soil erosion and runoff. Natural springs are the main source for drinking water in the upper hill areas of Nepal. Those springs are located in the lower valleys and often at a long distance. Especially during the dry season, the springs are drying up. This results in serious scarcity of drinking water.
What’s the status of governmental support on rainwater harvesting?
The main governmental actors in water supply are:
- the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD);
- the Department of Water Supply and sanitation (DWSS);
- the Department of Local Infrastructure and Rural Roads (DoLIDAR).
Water supply and sanitation policies are in place, as is a National Water Plan to address environmental concerns. Rainwater harvesting is included in these policies and plan, just like it is part of large programmes supported by the government – such as the RWSNN-II. Nevertheless, central planning, policymaking, implementation and monitoring by the Nepalese government are still insufficient. Indeed, policies are hardly implemented, if at all, and to the extent that they are, they often do not reach decentralised levels.