Digo Jal Bikas gathered close to 50 stakeholders from various sectors across Nepal to discuss priorities in the future visioning of development in Western Nepal. One component of the Digo Jal Bikas project involves creating hydrological models that demonstrate water distribution trade-offs, the benefits and drawbacks in distributing water to different sectors in the region. The focus of the workshop was to hear from stakeholders on what trade-offs should be included in hydrological modeling. Some ideas for development that emerged from the workshop include the need for a multi-purpose approach, the greater importance of soft management over infrastructure, the necessity of transportation and communication, the region’s high tourism potential, and support for small-scale agribusiness and storage.
IWMI Nepal was happy to see an engaged and diverse showing of water experts, policy makers, business people, and NGOs contributing to meaningful discussion. The participation of many Nepalis from Western Nepal itself also added to the dynamism of the conversation; while some may be accustomed to hearing a narrative of Western Nepal that paints it as only impoverished and under-developed, discussion at the workshop focused on just the opposite. Stakeholders and IWMI staff alike came away from the workshop feeling optimistic that a strategic vision for water infrastructure and economic development can truly improve the livelihood of Nepalis living in Western Nepal.
The Trade-Off Arena Workshop took place on August 1st at the Yak & Yeti Hotel.