KATHMANDU, June 30: Australia’s Ambassador to Nepal, Glenn White launched a report- 'Connecting flow and ecology in Nepal: current state of knowledge for the Koshi Basin' on 29 June 2016.
The report has identified scientific relationships between river flows and the ecological assets and livelihoods that they support in the Koshi Basin and beyond. It also established a baseline understanding of the current knowledge, in relation to ecological water requirements of aquatic ecosystems within the Koshi Basin of Nepal, the Embassy of Australia stated in a press release.
The report provides important information to assist water reform with emphasis on protecting fresh water ecosystems. It helps to identify key ecological water requirements which should be preserved under likely changes to river flows.
Launching the report, Ambassador White said, “Australia is proud to support capacity building in water resource planning in Nepal, particularly in the Koshi River Basin whose waters hold great potential for Nepal to develop sustainable hydropower and irrigation development. This report is a key step in building the evidence base to support this.”
The Director General of ICIMOD, Dr David Molden, said Nepal’s water resources have the potential to transform the country’s economy. However, doing so requires a holistic basin approach that takes into account the people, river flow, aquatic ecosystems, the fragile mountain environment, and the socially vulnerable groups, especially women and children.
“I am glad the work of various institutions and individuals in the Koshi Basin area has resulted in this important knowledge product connecting water flow and ecology in Nepal. I am sure this will be helpful reference for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers,” he said.
Addressing the report release, key researcher, Dr Tanya Doody (CSIRO) said, “It’s been an exciting opportunity to engage with Nepalese experts. Together, we have described their current understanding of the river flow dependencies of fishes, dolphins, crocodiles, birds, macro invertebrates, flora, and water buffalo. By understanding what we know, and what we don’t know, we expect this work (and the report) to inform future research program and water policy development.”
Dr Narendra Man Babu Pradhan, CEO Bird Conservation Nepal, said this was a very valuable piece of research that will certainly help the Nepalese people to understand the strong relationship between water, ecology and livelihoods and support better management of water resources.
He added this would help to develop a good strategy on Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) conservation in Nepal where in almost all of the 36 IBAs; water is among the top five ecosystem services.
Australia has more than two decades of experience in this field. The study was a joint effort of agencies including The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Zoological Society of London, Department of Hydrology & Meteorology (DHM), Ministry of Forests & Soil Conservation, National Animal Science Research Institute (NASRI), The Himalaya and the IUCN.
It will invariably help fast-track understanding among Nepal experts on the importance of flow-ecology relationships.
Australian government funded AUD 300,000 for the study through the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP). CSIRO-SDIP engagement, worth $15m over three years, aims at increasing water, food and energy security in South Asia, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and girls. RSS