Friday, February 5, 2010

RE: [NNSD] Nepal's water resource sector, Pancheshar project and Nepal's future

February 5, 2010

Rishi Adhikari
Kuala Lumpur

Dear Rishijee

Yes, Delhi needs “enough drinking water for democracy to survive in India;” not just for irrigation for food production. Besides, the water required for industrial use is about half of irrigation. Similarly, there are a number of other water requirements in India that will justify inundating 45 villages in India (according to the information I have the area of inundation in Nepal is 8,650 hectares and in India 11,450 hectares – 46% and 57% respectively). I too don’t have the number for displacement in India but from the information I have received 65,000 people will be displaced in Nepal.

Your quote has been scientifically corroborated by following statement:

“According to a new study based on satellite data and published online in Nature today. The heartland of last century's Green Revolution lost 109 cubic kilometers of water from its Indus River plain aquifer between August 2002 and October 2008.” More about it can be perused by following link:

In the above backdrop, it becomes logical and natural for India to want to implement this project. But, being a Nepali, what is beyond my comprehension is the rush of Nepali hydrocracy to inundate 43% land for the reservoir just to irrigate 93,000 hectares (5% compared to that of 95% in India). In other words, I, and other likeminded people like yourself, wouldn’t have minded if the water is to become available to India without inundating disproportionate quantum of land in Nepal and without having to displace so many people. But that is not the case. Therefore, the only scenario in which Nepal should allow this project to be built as currently planned is for India to pay Nepal for the additional water it receives from this reservoir 38% which, in my reckoning is worth Rs 17 billion/year if the precedent set between Lesotho and South Africa is to be followed. Nepal’s share of the cost of building this project of Rs 111 billion can be easily mobilized by using money due to Nepal for water to be provided during first 6 years, without Nepal having to borrow. We also need to remember that flood control benefit will also accrue to India by building the project (about 95%) and Nepal needs to get recompense for this too.

Otherwise, Nepal should have this project built after downsizing it to enable to store water adequate to irrigate 93,000 hectares which will inundate only about 1,000 hectares in Nepal (this is based on my “back-of-the-envelop” calculation) and reduce displacement commensurately.

Rishijee, thanks a lot for reverting back. We in Nepal do need some brain storming on these issues. I have come to realize that even amongst intellectuals, there is no comprehension of full manifestation of water resources and ramification of its misuse. Then there is a section, who people feel, are determined to “serve” Indian interest to the detriment of Nepal and Nepali people. Some amongst these have, reportedly, sold/mortgaged their souls for a few silvers (e.g. scholarship for their offspring, a job or two, or even a foreign trip). A discourse like this will not be able to change the latter types, but will benefit Nepal as more intellectuals will start understanding what water resource is (and what it is not) and how not to misuse it.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA
Senior Water Resource Analyst
From: [] On Behalf Of Rishi
Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 10:44
Subject: Re: [NNSD] Nepal's water resource sector, Pancheshar project and Nepal's future

Dear Ratna jee and Phanindra jee,

I forgot to mention the information on people to be affected due to the Pancheswor dam. During my visit to Pancheswor dam area in 1996 the Indian Engineering in-charge was telling us about 45 villages will be inundated in India and about 15 villages in Nepal. Many of the environmentalists at that meeting agreed with that figure. Sorry, I have not calculated in terms of number of people or families. Thank you.

Rishi Adhikari
On Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 2:28 PM, Rishi wrote:
Ratna jee and Phanindra jee,

So nice to read your views on water resources and hydro power. Regarding Pancheswor, there are additional two points that deserve mention in Ratna jee's write up. One, India is getting Irrigarion water in addition to flood control. It also will utilize the water to quench the thrist of Delhi in the coming days. The costing Ratna jee has done must include the potential cost of irrigation and drinking water that only India will utilize.

I visited Pancheswor dam area in 1996 with Sunderlal Bahuguna. That was right after the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani had inked the Pancheswor hydro power project with Indian officials. I had an opportunity to have a talk with the in-charge Engineer of Central water body, India. He was there at the site already with a team of about 40 staff doing the preliminary work on Pancheshwor dam. According to him Delhi needed enough drinking water for democracy to survive in India!

Thank you,

Rishi Adhikari
Kuala Lumpur
2010/1/26 Phanindra Adhikary

Dear Ratna Sansar ji,

I think we need a movement on the issues that you have raised. I don't think articles that come out are read by the so-called decision/policy makers; and some groups of people meeting the political leaders might feel that they have been heard, but I am sure they are neither listened to and nor understood in view of political culture we have.

The hope is a civil society movement that is professional, non-partisan and that works in the interest of the people and Nepal, and not to one or two political parties.

Are we prepared to take the risk? I can be supportive, but can I participate in it? I need to think twice and I am sure we all have same dilemmas. If professionals can come out of this dilemma and work for a movement – then potentially the impossible of 'pulling back the Goru from going down-hill' can be turned to a 'difficult one from impossible'!


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