Dynamics of Hydro-power Development in Nepal: Water-Energy-Food Security Prospect
Abstract: This thesis concerns with water, energy, and food (WEF) security in Nepal in relation to hydropower development. Hydropower is challenging to WEF security in three ways: First, the focus is only on energy generation which overlooks the impacts on land, forest, water and biodiversity. Second, the hydropowerprojects are being built in the tributaries of transboundary rivers where local, national and international interests and priorities intersect because these rivers are sources of the economy; water, energy, food commodities; and other ecosystems services. Third, discourses on renewable energy, sustainable development and climate change portray hydropower as a promising renewable energy source as other renewable energy sources hold very less potential in Nepal. In this context, this thesis evaluates if the benefit-sharing approach can be a solution to overcome problems related to the implementation of hydropower which challenges WEF security. Therefore, the study adoptsWEF Nexus Framework and Benefit-sharing Framework to evaluate the challenges and possibilities for rising WEF security minimizing the hydropower-induced trade-offs. The study finds hydropower development in Nepal is rapid and haphazard which merely conceives trade-offs between energy production and other benefits. But benefit-sharing practice, though it is still in its nascent phase, has positively impacted WEF security primarily at the local level, mainly by providing irrigation and drinking water facilities, rural electrification, and agriculture-related livelihood training and support. However, a well-planned benefit-sharing approach as an integral part of hydropower development is lacking which foils equitable distribution of benefits among stakeholders across all levels and smooth implementation o f hydropower projects to enhance the sustainability of hydropower.
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