Balancing intersectoral demands in basin-scale planning: the case of Nepal’s western river basins uri icon

abstract

  • Basin-wide planning requires tools and strategies that allow comparison of alternative pathways and priorities at relevant spatial and temporal scales. In this paper, we apply a hydroeconomic model-the Western Nepal Energy Water Model-that better accounts for feedbacks between water and energy markets, to optimize water allocations across energy, agriculture, municipal, and environmental sectors. The model maximizes total economic benefits, accounting for trade-offs both within and across sectors. In Western Nepal, we find that surface water availability is generally sufficient to meet existing and growing demands in energy and agricultural sectors; however, expansion of water storage and irrigation infrastructure may limit environmental flows below levels needed to maintain the full integrity of important aquatic ecosystems. We also find substantial trade-offs between irrigation in Nepal and satisfaction of the institutional requirements implied by international water-use agreements with the downstream riparian India. Similar trade-offs do not exist with hydropower, however. Model results and allocations are sensitive to future domestic and international energy demands and valuations.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020