Water resources are a growing global challenge, including due to the rapid growth in hydropower production across South and Southeast Asia. Nepal hosts 92 hydropower projects, and is developing >700. These include river diversions and high dams, with profound impact on Nepal’s 6000 rivers, 5,358 lakes, groundwater and 9 domestic Ramsar sites.  Nepal’s hydropower is largely governed via environmental impact assessment (EIA). EIA in Nepal consumes huge public and private resources (eg., 4 ministerial decisions, a series of national and local meetings, 2 public notices and community engagement, over>1 year).

The project is itself a scooping project to understand the EIA implementation in the hydropower sector in Nepal. This will cover the hydropower projects that are in construction/operation across Nepal. The objective of the projects are to explore the projected impacts and mitigation measures recommended in EIA,  monitor the active and passive cost associated with the EIA system and to understand the proponents’ explanation of EIA implementation gaps.

The project will review the approved EIA reports of hydropower projects, visit sites to document the status of the EIA implementation, and understand the proponent’s explanation on EIA implementation. To understand project impacts and EIA implementation, the project will interview EIA officials, experts, local leaders and activists. Key findings of the research will be shared in the high-level events and journal articles evaluating Nepal’s EIA hydropower implementation and its implications for water governance. 

Partners: British Council, Lancaster University, Pokhara University

Project Period: 2020-2021

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