Nepal case study: Harnessing hydropower

This study draws on a literature review and in-country consultations to understand the issues surrounding hydropower in Nepal


**How has hydropower performed in Nepal?

How could climate change impact on existing and planned hydropower generation in the country?**

This case study draws on a literature review and in-country stakeholder consultations to understand the issues surrounding hydropower performance and development in Nepal. The report includes sections on the case study context, systematic mapping of water-energy-food systems, hydropower performance and its influencing factors, and identifies interventions for increasing the positive impacts of hydropower schemes on water, energy and food security.

The case study found a clear need for Nepal to develop storage-type hydropower projects to generate much needed electricity in its dry season, with the added benefits of increasing resilience to climate change and increased provision of irrigation water. However, in order to ensure that the best overall value and efficiency is achieved for Nepal, in terms of the broader water, energy and food security benefits, it will be necessary to carefully select which prospective schemes are developed with reference to their social and environmental impacts which tend to be high for storage-type schemes.

Interventions identified which could help maximise the water, energy and food security benefits from Nepal’s considerable hydropower potential were:

  • Assess environmental and social impacts and climate change resilience of development at promising sites identified by the storage-type hydropower master plan.
  • Develop a robust methodology for analysing climate change impacts on existing and new hydropower projects and incorporating them in planning/adaptation decisions.
  • Improve silt load monitoring and flood forecasting to prevent loss of storage volume or turbine damage.
  • Further develop community-scale hydropower by increasing the number of schemes and their impact.
  • Reduce land degradation and erosion issues by working with local institutions.
  • Research and develop payments for ecosystem services approach for the Nepalese context.

This report has been produced for Evidence on Demand by HR Wallingford with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by DAI (which incorporates HTSPE Limited) and IMC Worldwide Limited. It was produced for DFID’s Adaptation Knowledge and Tools programme.


Hurford, A.P.; Wade, S.D.; Winpenny, J. Nepal case study: Harnessing hydropower. Evidence on Demand, UK (2014) viii + 69 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_cr.august2014.hurfordetal03]

Nepal case study: Harnessing hydropower

Published 1 January 2014