Current situation of water resource utilization in Nepal


Current situation of water resource utilization in Nepal

Current Situation of Hydroelectricity:

By mid-March 2020, a total of 1233.1 MW hydroelectricity has been generated from various hydropower projects which are around 1.49% of the total potentiality. Out of generated hydropower, 1079.1 MW has been connected to the national grid. The electricity produced from small hydropower stations and others (3.9 MW) not connected to the national grid has been providing electricity services at the local level.

Hydroelectricity Connection

Total Installed Capacity (MW)

1. Hydroelectricity connected to the National Grid


2. Hydroelectricity not connected to the National Grid




The first hydro project in Nepal is the Pharping hydroelectricity project (500 KW), installed in 1911 A.D. Today, hydroelectricity is accessible to all 77 districts of the country and the people who benefitted from it are about 90% of the total population. However, 3 municipalities and 38 rural municipalities from Karnali Province and 6 municipalities and 25 rural municipalities from Sudurpaschim Province do not have access to electricity. Therefore, further investment is needed in this sector to achieve the sustainable development goal of making easy access to energy to all populations by 2030 A.D.

While analyzing the sector-wise consumption of electricity in FY 2017/18, it is found that the household sector consumed 43.3%, industrial sector 36.3%, commercial sector 7.9%, and miscellaneous sector 12.5%.

Some of the major hydropower projects are:





Kaligandaki A

144 MW


23.5 MW

Middle Marsyangdi

79 MW


20 MW


69 MW


14.1 MW

Kulekhani I

60 MW


15 MW


60 MW

Modi Khola

14 MW

Upper Trishuli 3A

60 MW

Jhimruk Khola*

12 MW


36 MW


10 MW

Kulekhani II

32 MW

Indrawati III*

7.5 MW


24 MW

Puwa Khola

6 MW

*private sector projects
Source: A Year in Review (2017), NEA

Upper Tamakoshi (456 MW), Lower Solu (82 MW), Rasuwagadhi (111 MW), Sanjen (42.5 MW), Mistri Khola (42 MW), Khani Khola (40 MW) are some of the major hydropower projects under construction.

Current Situation of Irrigation:

Irrigation is an important use of water resources. The expansion of irrigation facilities can lead to crop integration and crop diversification which can help to create employment opportunities and to reduce poverty.

In Nepal, out of the total geographical area of 1,47,51,600 hectares, the land suitable for arable agriculture is estimated to be around 26,41,000 hectares (17.9% of total geographical area). Out of this land, the potential irrigable area under surface and groundwater sources is about 17,66,000 hectares (67% of arable land) owing to the rugged topography and landform. At present, only 14,79,149 hectares of land has irrigation facility.


Land Irrigated (Hectares)


1. Surface Irrigation



2. Underground Irrigation



3. Traditional Cannnel



4. Others






Source: Economic Survey, 2019/20

Due to the lack of availability of sufficient amount of water in the source and delay in implementation of the projects of water transfer and multi-purpose water reservoir projects, it is distressing to note that only 33% of areas of irrigated land are estimated to get year-round irrigation facility.

Some of the major irrigation projects of the country are as follows:

1. Bagmati Irrigation Project
2. Purbi Rapti Irrigation Project
3. Mahakali Irrigation Project
4. Bhairahawa Lumbini Irrigation Project
5. Chandra Mohan Irrigation Project
6. Narayani Irrigation Project
7. Sikta Irrigation Project
8. Rajapur Irrigation Project
9. Babai Irrigation Project
10. Sunsari Morang Irrigation Project

Current Situation of Drinking Water:

Drinking water is essential for human existence. Nepal has abundant natural resources in the form of water.

The major sources of drinking water in Nepal are piped water, tube well, spring and others. Piped water alone constitutes about 50% of the total drinking water supply in Nepal. The systematic drinking water system was started in 1951 A.D. when Bir Dhara was built.

By the end of the 14th Plan (2016/17-2018/19), 88% of people had access to safe drinking water facilities. However, this figure does not reflect the real situation as this figure also includes the past projects which are not in use these days. The 15th Plan (2019/20-2023/24) has set the target to provide drinking water facilities to 99% of the total population.

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