Work Package 1 – Basin characterization

This WP will comprise an assessment of the nature, extent and condition of ecosystems including flows and their services in west Nepal and the Karnali and Mahakali river basins. This will include an inventory of available information on biodiversity and protected areas as well as important ecosystems services. Hydrological models will be used to quantify sub-basin time series information on climate, flows as well as the changes due to future climate. An analysis of the impact of flow modification on the nature and quality of these services will also be carried out. In parallel, a comprehensive review of the existing policy and institutional framework, including both Nepal and transboundary considerations in India will be prepared to support later work on water resources development pathways and policy guidelines.


  • Development of a web-based database collating all relevant spatial and temporal data on freshwater ecosystems and their services in West Nepal, including both natural characteristics and artificial structures under past, current and future climate scenarios. To avoid duplication, existing online datasets will not be replicated, but the database will contain metadata on relevant government and third-party datasets.
  • Identify key stakeholders at various levels (national/subnational) involving relevant sectors (energy, water, environment, rural development, agriculture).
  • Conduct policy review and institutional analysis across scales. One or two students from national universities will be involved. Project staff will supervise students on how to conduct comprehensive policy review and institutional analysis.
  • Incorporate climate-related policies and institutions into the review through the evaluation of Local Adaptation Plan (LAPA) and the National Adaptation plan (NAPA) and their linkages. Also assess the financial structure and mechanisms for CC adaptation.
  • Map power structures and power relationships.
  • Write-up national policy review and institutional analysis including climate related policies. 


  • Start the development of a web-based database collating all relevant spatial and temporal data on freshwater ecosystems and their services in West Nepal, including both natural characteristics and artificial structures (the web-based database will be a part of IWMI’s Water Data Portal). A share point, which is the first step will be set up by May 1. 2016
  • Political economy analysis at the basin level that incorporates networks analysis and captures key stakeholders’ perceptions on water resources development. Identification of key stakeholders, their access to resources (e.g., decision-making structure and processes as well as financial source), and how these (re)shape their strategies and the existing power relationships. The final report will be completed by November, 2017. A consolidated list of key stakeholders involving the government, civil society groups, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and academics will be prepared by December, 2016.
  • Comprehensive assessment of the water governance decision-making structure and processes (including water-related development master plans, power trade agreements and environmental impact assessments) across scales, taking into account Nepal’s water governance systems and transboundary considerations in India. The final report will be completed by November, 2017, and a report on the overview of policy documents (including government law, decrees and guidelines) on water resources management, in particular, at the interface of water-food-energy and the environment will be completed by March, 2017.
  • Comprehensive policy review and institutional analysis across scales (from mapping government policies and key stakeholders at national/subnational level to understanding local institutional arrangements), focusing on the intersection of land-water-energy and the environment, climate related policies and institutional set ups and incorporating gender and indigenous communities’ issues. The final report will be completed by November, 2017 and a draft report on policy review and institutional analysis will be completed by March, 2017.

Assumptions and risks

  • Government agencies and private developers are willing to share technical and investment data openly with other stakeholders across scales.
  • Key stakeholders are willing to discuss power structures and relationships openly, and how these support/hinder water governance practices.

Project outcomes

  • State agencies, community-based organizations and development partners in Nepal actively use the database to inform water resources investment planning and decision making under current and nearer-term climate impacts (variability and change) and longer-term climate scenarios
  • A better understanding of the existing institutional and policy landscape pertaining to water governance in the basin (including the transboundary aspect of India-Nepal relationships), and how these shape power structures and relationships, and vice versa.
  • A better understanding of climate related policies and institutions and identification of gaps
  • Different stakeholders across scales and administrative levels will have a better understanding of basin characteristics, and the social, technical and political interlinkages shaping water governance structures, processes and procedures.
  • Potential entry points for policy change towards more sustainable water resources development will be identified.

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