June 12, 2010Mr Chiran S Thapa
Cc: Santa B Pun
I wonder how on earth did you get the idea that I have been pushed off the pedestal! In the first place, I was never on a pedestal and if, for any reason, by some mistake, I was put on one, then it is beyond the likes of Bikash Thapa to push me off it. Yellow journalism is never effective. It can play to the gallery by providing cheap stuff for a while, however, people who read and once believed him tire out very soon. Those who know me too well they will never believe in the stuff written by this person. It doesn’t matter in the case of people who don’t know me. He, in particular, have, I suspect, started to write on the basis of “consideration”, received or otherwise.
I am one of the few who admire your fellow Xavierian (therefore, I have cced this email to him) but I happen to disagree with the very question you are posing: “Which is more important for Nepal, water or electricity?” I don’t believe Punjee would also subscribe to your ideas. No trade off is involved at all. Your question seems to be based on the premise that the two are mutually exclusive, which is absolutely untrue. People do ask this question failing to fully understand what water resource is. Because the question you have posed fails to take into account the multidimensional uses of water. There is no need for juxtaposing our consumptive uses of water with hydropower; nor there will ever be. For example, building a multipurpose project means generating quality (peak-in) power and also generating augmented/regulated flow of water for consumptive uses during the dry season. In Nepal there is too much water during wet season and very little in the dry season; a cycle of flood and drought. Once a multipurpose project is built, the reservoir will capture excess water of the rainy season thus averting flood and generate augmented/regulated flow round the year means more water during dry season for water supply, irrigation, fishery, industrial uses, etc. Besides, this also opens up the opportunity for navigation and water sport based tourism. In the case of run-of-the-river project, as hydropower is non-consumptive use of water, it doesn’t preempt any consumptive use of water and, hence, no tradeoff is involved in this type of project too.
I don’t believe there is any river specific formula. However, so far we, upper riparian country, have been getting the rough end of the stick and the lower riparian country has been running away with disproportionate share (in treaties through Koshi to Mahakali). If you were to insist in calling it a formula then, the formula should be equitable share of benefit to both the countries involved based not just on cash investment for implementation of a specific proejct but full life cycle cost which will comprise of cash capital cost and non cash cost (like submergence of land and displacement of populace) during implementation phase as well as operation phase. Precedents can be found in the agreements reached between US and Canada as well as South Africa and Lesotho.
In this backdrop your third component becomes irrelevant. Because, as soon as a reservoir is built, it will not be for a shorter period of time, in line with your preference. It becomes a permanent feature as long as the dam isn’t decommissioned which is entirely a different ball game.
With best regards,
Ratna Sansar Shrestha
From: C.S. Thapa [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of C.S. Thapa
Sent: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 5:33
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: FW: ...thought Kantipur didn't indulge in yellow journalism
After reading the Kantipur article, I spoke to a historian and asked whether we are now down to one reliable guide on Nepal's water resources: fellow Xavierian Santa Bahadur Pun, you having been pushed off the pedestal. I have been using Santa's question: Which is more important for
Nepal, water or electricity, and asking whether there cannot be a tradeoff. Our consumptive use(s) for irrigation, drinking water, etc could be juxtaposed with our needs for hydroelectricity, water transport,fishing, etc. What is the river-specific formula - a bigger-win situation for upper
riparian Nepal for a lower-win for the region's lower riparians? The third component is time, consumptive use of water, storage for nonconsumptive needs over a period of time, gnenerally the shorter the better.
Your letter to Kantipur will receive I assure you my full and objective consideration.
On Jun 7 2010, Ratna Sansar Shrestha wrote: