Essay About Water Resources In Nepal

Find here a some facts and information about drinking water resource in Nepal. We have posted here some facts and information about water resource, important of water resource, uses of water resource, problems of water resource, conservation of water resource and management of water resources. Get information and facts about drinking water in Nepal.

Drinking Water Resource, Source, Important, Use, Problems, Conservation in Nepal

Facts about Water in Nepal

Water is one of the most important basic needs for all the living being. About 70% of the human body is made up of water. Human beings can live without food for some time but not without water. Water is used for various purposes, such as for cooking food, washing clothes, bathing, growing crops, construction work and for generating hydro-electricity. Water plays a vital role in the development of a country. Clean drinking water is necessary for good health. -“the citizens are healthy, development of a country will be rapid. Thus, government should make all the efforts to supply pure drinking water to its citizens.

We get water from different sources. About 71% of the earth is covered with water and Nepal boasts herself to be very rich in water resources. However, about 20- 25 % of our people are still deprived of safe drinking water. The sources of water aren’t properly utilized. Water supply situation both in rural and urban areas is worsening day by day. Due to rapid population growth, industrialization and urbanization, the demand for drinking water is increasing whereas water sources are drying up due to deforestation and environmental degradation. We often see long lines of women and children waiting their turn to collect little water in towns and cities. Villagers in rural areas need to walk hours to fetch a jarful of water.

Water Resource in Nepal

Nepal calls to mind images of the Himalaya, peace, tranquility, and voluminous flowing water, which when harnessed to produce hydropower for export, provides the comfort of easy revenue. Water in Nepal remains a seminal contribution to comprehensive thinking about the complexity of Himalayan waters. Water is most important for the life of living organisms such as plants, animal and man. It is also essential for agriculture, industries, drinking and many other purposes. The water of atmosphere reaches the earth surface through precipitation and form earth surface it reaches the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration. Therefore, continuous circulation of water from the earth to atmosphere and vice-versa in maintained by nature. This is called water cycle. Conventional water discourses are immune to the interdisciplinary perspective.

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It has been calculated that total water on earth is 1.46 x 109 cubic kilometers. About 90% water is found in ocean, 4.1% on earth, 2.0% in the glacier, 0.052% in lake, river.

Water is most important component of our ecosystem. It is raw material for photosynthesis and numerous other processes. Our body contains 100 pounds of water. It promotes chemical activity.

In recent years Nepal’s water wealth has begun to attract international attention as a resource of world-class proportions. Indeed, with a theoretical hydroelectric potential billed at 83,000 MW (Shrestha 1966) and an established inventory of feasible sites totalling about one-third of the above figure (MWR 1981), Nepal’s rivers hold the promise of abundant energy that very few places in the world can match. When one adds to this electricity bonanza the prospect of irrigating one of the world’s most fertile areas -the northern Gangetic plains – for second and third crops, the vision of an overflowing cornucopia, seen from the vantage point of pure engineering, can be overpowering.

Initial expectations from Nepal’s water resources were based on an analysis that viewed falling water from a physicist’s perspective, which then fuelled both publicity and political hopes regarding the nation’s future.1 Subsequently, the evolution of complex problems involved in harnessing the cascading waters of the Himalaya began to cast doubts on the viability of quick development. There were physical uncertainties regarding the quantity and nature of Nepal’s water. Very little was known about the riverbeds and hills upon which gigantic engineering structures were to be built, and what became known was generally unfavourable to large structures. There were also incongruities between the vision of full-scale water resources development and larger social realities. These difficulties have taken the romantic euphoria out of Nepal’s water, and have left an uncomfortable hiatus in public debates regarding this physical asset.

This monograph is an attempt to step back and re-scan the horizon. It is an interdisciplinary effort at slicing anew the whole that is Nepal and her water resources, and synthesising the various strands of social and physical concerns that bear upon Nepali water (Gyawali 1983c). It does not propose a deep analysis of any individual element pertaining to water, although the need and scope exist for very specialised studies of the many manifestations of water. Indeed, for the specialist in the different disciplines, the treatment of their favourite subject in this monograph may seem to be hopelessly brief and almost callous. It is because the task set forth is to pick out only the essence of the various elements and to see how it weaves into the fabric.

Drinking Water in Nepal in the Past

In the past, people used to drink water directly from the source. The first piped water for drinking purpose was launched in Kathmandu during the time of Bir Shumsher. Water was brought through pipes from Shivapuri area, and stored in a reservoir in Bansbari, Maharajgung. From the reservoir, water was supplied to different parts in the valley.

Similarly, during the time of Bhim Shumsher, water was brought through pipes from Sangle Khola and stored in the reservoir at Balaju and distributed to different places in Kathmandu.

In the context of Nepal, during the rulling period of Bir Shumsher the first piped water was launched in Kathmandu for the drinking purpose. It was brought from Shivapuri area in Bansbari, Maharajgung. This water was supplied in the Kathmandu Valley. Similarly, during the time of Bhim Shumsher, water was brought through pipes from Sangle Khola and stored in the reservoir at Balaju and distributed to different places in Kathmandu.

However, it is only since the First Five Year Plan (1956-6 IAD) that the water supply became somewhat organized and systematic.

Drinking water in Nepal

“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”. In most of the remote and rural areas, people drink directly from the sources like rivers, spring, ponds etc. These open sources of water are polluted and contaminated. Many of these water sources dry up in winter. Such polluted water is the main cause for water-borne diseases like dysentery, typhoid and cholera. Every year many infants, children and adults become victims of these diseases.

There is an acute problem of rapid population growth in urban areas. The demand of drinking water is very high but difficult to fulfill. Most of water-pipes laid down during the time of Ranas have little or no maintenances. Due to the carelessness of the people, water goes wasted as taps are let open event after use. People have to wake up early in the morning, and have to stand in the queue for long time just to get a bucket of water. Often people have to fulfill their needs by buying water from the private sector.

Filed Under: NepalTagged With: Conservation of Water Resources, Conservation of Water Resources in Nepal, Current Position of Water Resources, Current Position of Water Resources in Nepal, Drinking Water in Kathmandu, Drinking Water in Nepal, Important of Water Resources, Important of Water Resources in Nepal, Management of Water Resources, Management of Water Resources in Nepal, Sources of Water Resources, Sources of Water Resources in Nepal, Uses of Water Resources, Uses of Water Resources in Nepal, Water in Nepal, Water Resources, Water Resources in Nepal

State of water environmental issues


Nepal is among the richest in terms of water resource availability and it is one of the most important natural resource of the country. Water resources are abundant throughout the country in the form of snow covers, rivers, springs, lakes, and groundwater. The total renewable water resource of the country is estimated to be 237 km3/year (225 km3/year for surface sources and 12 km3/year for groundwater sources) and per capita water availability for 2001 was 9600 m3/capita/year.

Snow cover

Snow cover in Himalayas provides huge natural storage of freshwater. Glaciers, permafrost, and glacial lakes are main forms of water storage. Snow-melt discharges from Himalayas maintain the water levels in downstream rivers and wetlands and thereby provide vital ecosystem services and support dependent livelihood. There are about 3,252 glaciers with total coverage of 5,323 km2 in Nepal. Similarly, there are about 2323 glacial lakes located in this region with total coverage area of 75.70 km2. Due to impacts of global warming and climate change phenomenon glaciers are retreating at alarming rate and glacial lakes are expanding rapidly. Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) disaster poses imminent risk to downstream infrastructure, households and livelihood. In Nepal at least 12 GLOF events have been reported to date and about 20 glacial lakes are identified as potentially dangerous from GLOF.

River Basins

Whole Nepal is a part of the Ganga Basin and it is estimated that approximately 70% of dry season flow and 40% of annual flow of the Ganga River comes through Nepal. It is estimated that there are altogether 6,000 rivers (including rivulets and tributaries) in Nepal and drainage density is about 0.3 km/km2. The cumulative length of rivers is 45,000 km. There are 1000 rivers longer than 10 km and about 24 of them are more than 100 km. Rivers in Nepal can be classified into three broad groups on the basis of their origin. The first group of rivers is snow fed-types such as the major rivers systems: the Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali, and Mahakali. They originate from snow and glaciated regions in Himalayas and their flow regimes are mostly governed by the melting of snows and glaciers. As a result, flow in these rivers is perennial and sustain flow during the dry season. These rivers are reliable source of water and also provide potential opportunities for hydro-power generation and irrigation in the downstream. The second group of rivers originates in the middle mountains and hilly regions. Their flow regimes are affected by both monsoon precipitation and groundwater. Contribution from groundwater yield maintains the minimum flow level and prevents from drying during non-monsoon periods. The Bagmati, Kamala, Rapti, Mechi, Kankai, and Babai rivers fall into this group. The third group of rivers originates in Siwalik zone. Tinau, Banganga, Tilawe, Sirsia, Manusmara, Hardinath, Sunsari and other smaller rivers are examples of rivers falling in this group. The flow in these rivers is mostly dependent on monsoon precipitation and their flow level could deplete significantly low during the non-monsoon period. Summer monsoon is important period when about 60-85% of annual runoff of all river systems in Nepal occurs during July to September.

River water discharge flowing through Nepal

Enclosed water

There are numerous enclosed water bodies all over Nepal and those includes lakes, ponds, dams, and other small wetlands. Recent report of the National Lakes Conservation Development Committee has identified total 5,358 lakes in Nepal (including 2323 glacial lakes). Lakes are spread at different elevation as well as along entire east-west longitudinal range. There are nine wetland identified as Ramsar sites in Nepal.

1.Koshi Tappu175009090TeraiEastern Nepal
2.Jagadishpur Reservoir225195195TeraiWestern Nepal
3.Ghodaghodi Lake Area2,563205205TeraiFar-Western Nepal
4.Beeshazari and Associated Lakes3,200285285TeraiCentral Nepal
5.Mai Pokhari9021002100Middle MountainEastern Nepal
6.Rara Lake1,58329902990High MountainMid-Western Nepal
7.Phoksundo Lake49436103610High MountainMid-Western Nepal
8.Gosaikunda and Associated Lakes1,03047004700High MountainCentral Nepal
9.Gokyo andAssociated Lakes7,77050005000High MountainEastern Nepal
Source: NLCDC (accessed 15 Feb. 2011)

Other important lakes include Phewa, Rupa, and Begnas in Pokhara (Kaski district). These enclose water bodies are important source of water for irrigation, recreation, fishing and other domestic uses. In addition these are habitats for different flora and fauna. Wetlands are sanctuary for migratory birds and other fauna. The wetlands of the country's lowlands alone support 32 species of mammals, 461 species of birds (among which 15 species are rare), 9 species of turtle, 20 species of snake and 28 species of fish.


Nepal also has abundant groundwater resources. The estimated renewable groundwater potential of the country is estimated to be 12 km3. They are major source of domestic uses and irrigated agriculture in Terai regions. Apart from Terai region, cities such as Kathmandu are highly dependent on groundwater resources to fulfil daily water needs. Groundwater discharges are vital for maintaining water levels in rivers originating from Middle Mountains. "Groundwater Depletion in Kathmandu Valley: Need for Management"


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