Watershed communities in Nepal are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The communities are exposed to biodiversity loss, water and food scarcity, and threats to their lives and livelihood. The Building Climate Resilience of Watersheds in Mountain Eco-Regions project demonstrates how to build long-term climate resilience in vulnerable mountain regions through a participatory integrated water resource and ecosystem-based approach. It shows ADB investments for better water services and resource management. Sustainable infrastructure solutions have increased surface water storage and groundwater recharge. Now, these upland communities have improved access to and reliable water supply for their domestic use and irrigation. Promoting inclusive growth through climate-resilient and sustainable infrastructure have improved their lives.

Transcript

We had to travel very far to fetch water. We suffered a lot.

We used to collect water from nearby sources. But over the years, the sources have all dried up.  It was difficult to manage water for the cattle.

We villagers came together and worked voluntarily for the project. We contributed whatever we could from our side. Now, access to water has significantly improved. We received training on climate change and learned to conserve water resources.

Water scarcity threatens the living conditions, livelihoods, and agricultural productivity of the eco-region communities of Nepal.

To respond, an innovative watershed management project was funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Nordic Development Fund. It also received support from the Climate Investment Fund and the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience.

The project has improved access to and reliability of water supply in communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Over 50,000 households in water-stressed communities in Sudurpaschim Province now have sufficient and reliable water supply even in the dry season. 

I no longer have to wake up at 2 a.m. to fetch water. Now, I have water right in front of my door. I use extra water for growing vegetables.

The communities also have enough water for irrigation and many have taken up vegetable farming for extra income. 

I earn around US$ 1,000 a year by growing vegetables. I spend this extra money on household necessities.

The easy access to water has changed our lives. By growing and selling seasonal vegetables, I managed to save some money and also to send our children to school.

The project has supported 1,250 communities with improved water storage infrastructure and watershed management practices.

Spring sources are protected against surface contamination.

Reservoir tanks store water overnight for collection the next day and excess water is stored in conservation ponds.

There is enough water to maintain my family’s health and sanitation.

The project has demonstrated that a community-led participatory watershed management planning could lead to local ownership and sustainability.

More than 5,000 locals, almost half of them women, have been trained on water conservation.

The project has built the capacity of local and provincial governments.

To protect springs, almost 3,000 hectares of the watershed area has been preserved.

Felling trees has been banned and community fencing practices have been imposed.

The project worked with communities which were the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

And the community-led approach to watershed management proved to be very successful in raising their awareness to the issue of climate change and making them more resilient.

The lessons from the project can be replicated across Nepal as well as other places in the world.

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