The 8th National Groundwater Symposium on “Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of Groundwater Resources of Nepal”, as a part of the Nepal National Water and Weather Week 2017, was held at Annapurna Hotel, Kathmandu on 20th March 2017 to mark the World Water Day.
Mr. Jagat Prasad Joshi, Executive Director, Ground Water Resource Development Board (GWRDB), including his welcome address stressed on the need of timely study on groundwater abstraction and implementation of control mechanism. He also informed that study by the GWRDB has found several potential areas in high hills and mid-hills suitable for groundwater abstraction.
In the key note presentation entitled “Save Groundwater, Secure the Water for Future” Dr. Sangam Shrestha, Assoc. Prof., Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, mentioned different issues of groundwater including its depletion and land subsidence. He discussed success story of controlling groundwater depletion and land subsidence of Bangkok using a step by step increment of groundwater use tariff.
Ms. Tripti Rai, Country Representative, WaterAid Nepal stated discourse and equity as the fundamental steps in advancing more inclusive groundwater governance. She further emphasized on importance of behavioral change to stop exploiting nature and requested the policy makers and planners to figure out common actions for utilizing the outcomes of the symposium for sustainable groundwater management.
Er. Bipin Dongol, Executive Director of Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) talked about deterioration of groundwater quality. He insisted on the need of research on Faecal Sludge Management to reduce the groundwater pollution.
Prof. Suresh Raj Chalise, Adviser of The Small Earth Nepal (SEN) advised to continue the dialogue on the groundwater issues and management.
Er. Sanjeev Bickram Rana, Executive Director, Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board (KVWSMB) stressed need to improve coordination among stakeholders working in the area of groundwater and urged experts for contributing to strengthen groundwater licensing system in Kathmandu Valley.
Chief Guest of the event, Er. Bhim Prasad Upadhaya, Secretary, Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation (MoWSS), emphasized the issues of conservation and proper use of water along with the actions on reduction of waste water.
Chairperson of the inaugural session Er. Madhav Belbase, Secretary, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) highlighted the need of research on recharge potential in the Bhabar zone to protect groundwater resources in Terai region and reduce the encroachment.
There were 3 technical sessions with 11 oral presentations and 4 poster presentations. In the first technical session, presentations were made on topics such as identifying recharge areas of mountain spring systems using environmental isotope tracer and hydrogeology techniques, mitigation options for arsenic contaminated groundwater of Terai and assessment of groundwater risk pollution in Kathmandu.
The second technical session included presentations on groundwater depletion in Terai, monitoring of groundwater level variations and estimation of water demand in the river basins of Nepal.
And the third technical session included presentations on using smart phones for data collection, Melamchi Water Supply as an alternative for groundwater resource management, and management and future challenges of groundwater in Kathmandu valley.
The symposium was attended by 97 participants from universities, government, NGOs, INGOs, water companies and media.
Center of Research for Environment Energy and Water (CREEW) along with The Small Earth Nepal (SEN), Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board (KVWSMB) and Ground Water Resource Development Board (GWRDB) organized the symposium.