International partnership highlights Himalayan water resources management

Posted 2 March 2017

Indus riverKathmandu and Canberra are ramping up efforts to ensure sustainable development and improve water resources management in the Himalayan river basins. 

The second phase of the Australian Federal Government’s Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) program represents a $42 million commitment to the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins. 

Australia’s Ambassador to Nepal, HE Glenn White, announced the start of phase two from Kathmandu.

“In response to the government of Nepal and other bilateral partners in south Asia, Australia has and will continue to support the region where it is uniquely placed to contribute,” he said. 

“This includes integrated water resources management (at basin scale); climate-resilient and water and energy efficient agriculture; and energy efficiency standards in large-scale grid connected renewables and small- to medium-scale hydropower.” 

The project aims to strengthen regional cooperation, share new knowledge and improve the regional enabling environment (including private sector engagement) for more integrated and shared management of water, energy and food resources.

Phase one of the project involved poverty reduction efforts around Nepal's largest river, the Koshi, which drains into the Ganges. 

“Within the Koshi project, the focus has been on working with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to evaluate the range of possible water-related development pathways that may lead to inclusive poverty reduction,” project partners said

“Activities have included the development of an eWater Source river system model for parts of the Koshi, development of improved climate surfaces, and emerging complementary projects analysing livelihood impacts and linking ecological indicators (e.g. dolphins, riparian vegetation) to changes in river flow.”

During phase two, CSIRO and ICE WaRM will work alongside the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). 

International partners include the ICIMOD, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank’s South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI).