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Urbanization and Climate Change Interaction in Shaping Water Security in Peri -Urban Kathmandu Approach, Processes and Findings of Peri -Urban Water Security Research . Ashutosh Shukla Nepal Engineering College Dissemination Workshop on Peri -Urban Water Security Research in South Asia

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Urbanization and Climate Change Interaction in Shaping Water Security in Peri-Urban KathmanduApproach, Processes and Findings of Peri-Urban Water Security Research


Nepal Engineering College

Dissemination Workshop on Peri-Urban Water Security Research in South Asia

June 18, 2013

The context of kathmandu valley
The Context of Kathmandu Valley Security in

  • A bowl shaped valley

Bagmati River and its Tributaries form the natural drainage system in the valley.

The landscape is formed by river action- erosion and sedimentation.

The valley floor has fertile soil to support multiple cropping.

The context of kathmandu valley1
The Context of Kathmandu Valley Security in

  • Center of trade, commerce (Indo-Tibetan Trade Route), art and crafts, power and politics since ancient time.

  • Total area= 665 km2 (899 km2 of three Districts- Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur

  • 119 administrative units: 5 Municipalities (Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur and MadhyapurThimi) and 114 VDCs.

  • The process of urbanization was set in 1965 with the opening of Tribhuvan Highway, first road transport corridor that connected Kathmandu to Terai and Indian border to the south.

  • The growth in tourism, trade and commerce supported the pace of urbanization in the subsequent years.

Urbanization in kathmandu
Urbanization in Kathmandu Security in

Mixed rural and urban landscape

High rising buildings and farm lands exist side by side

The urbanization trend in kathmandu
The Urbanization Trend in Kathmandu Security in

  • The Period after 1980 witnessed rapid growth in infrastructure and services.

  • Rapid population growth after 1990. Between 1955 to 2008 population of Kathmandu grew by 499%.

  • Maoists’ led armed struggle during 1996- 2006 led to unprecedented increase in population.

  • High rate of urbanization (6.4% per annum) but low level of growth in services.

Implication of urbanization on water demand
Implication of Urbanization on Water Demand Security in

  • Significant increase in water demand since 1970: 360 MLD (KUKL, 2012)

  • Average annual increase: 40-60 MLD

  • KUKL’s Capacity:

  • wet season= 110-120 MLD

  • Dry Season= 80 MLD

  • Losses in storage and distribution= 40%

  • Increased dependence of urban dwellers on groundwater to meet whole or part of domestic water demand

  • Half of water production of KUKL is from groundwater

Increasing Roles of Market Players/ Water Entrepreneurs in Supporting Urban Water Needs- Water Extractors, Tanker Operators, Water Vendors, Bottling Industries

Rural urban continuum emergence of peri urban context
Rural-Urban Continuum: Emergence of Security in Peri-Urban Context

  • Rural and urban economy and livelihood systems exist side by side.

  • Ring road developed in mid 1970s separates urban core with the periphery and creates opportunity of urban expansion.

  • In local parlance the fringe area is referred as ‘Kanth’

Importance of peri urban areas in urban growth of kathmandu
Importance of Security in Peri-Urban Areas in Urban Growth of Kathmandu

  • Ecosystem Services- production and regulatory function through hydro-ecosystem links

  • Supplier of food, water, construction materials (sand, gravel, bricks, mud)

  • Conversion of agricultural land to meet the needs of housing plots.

  • Spontaneous urban growth

  • Involvement of land broker and developers beginning 2000. Escalating land price

  • Rampant sand mining and extraction of gravel and mud in the peri-urban landscape

  • Estimated volume of tanker water supply= 25-40 MLD (25.58 MLD)

  • Annul transaction in tanker water supply= NRs. 1106 million for 7.06 MCM per annum

Pathways of water stresses in peri urban areas
Pathways of Water Stresses in Security in Peri-Urban Areas

Stresses visible at three levels:

Peri-Urban agro-ecosystem

Extraction of water and other natural resources

Livelihood opportunities/changes

  • Land Use and Land Cover Changes

  • Competing Water Uses

  • Rural-Urban Water Transfer

  • By Water Utilities

  • By Market Actors (Water Tankers/Water Bottling Industries)

  • Encroachment of surface water bodies and river waterways

  • Drying of Spring Sources- Increasing population in the headwater

  • Increasing diversion of water sources to meet the domestic water needs- reduction in water availability for irrigation.

  • Sand Mining

  • Disposal of Untreated Wastewater

Need to look into peri urban dynamics emergence of peri urban water security research
Need to Look into Security in Peri-Urban Dynamics: Emergence of Peri-Urban Water Security Research

  • Urbanization and Climate change as two stressors producing and impacting peri-urban dynamics and water security

  • Sustainable urban growth would depend on our ability in protecting and/or enhancing the productive uses and regenerative capacity of natural resources.

  • This would require paradigm shift in urban planning and management of natural resources and development of institutional infrastructures to address the emerging challenges

  • Understanding of urbanization x climate change interaction to this end

Focus of peri urban water security research in kathmandu
Focus of Security in Peri-Urban Water Security Research in Kathmandu

Building of empirical understanding on urbanization x climate change interaction, and related processes, at work in shaping water security (insecurity) in peri-urban areas and using this understanding in identifying actions at community, development and policy levels towards sustainable urban growth and utilization and management of water and other natural resources in the peri-urban areas.


  • Identifying research sites that would adequately represent the complex peri-urban context in Kathmandu.

  • Methodological approaches that would be relevant to the research focus.

  • Pursuit of action research- using the research results in producing action at the local/community level.

  • Using research results in capacity building.

  • Impact at policy level- informed decision in policy processes.

Systematizing the selection of the research sites
Systematizing the Selection of the Research Sites Security in

8 criteria used in selection:

State and processes in land use changes

State and processes in social and livelihood transformation

Flow of goods and services for urban needs

Multiple claimants, contestation and conflict on water

State of institutions and institutional lacunae

Changing ecology and ecological stresses

Perceived climate change (variability) and impact

Perceived water (in)security

Informed Decision in the Selection of Study Sites:

  • Four Research Locations Selected:

  • Matatirtha

  • Dadhikot and Jhaukhel in Bhaktapur

  • Lubhu in Lalitpur

Selection matrix
Selection Matrix Security in

Score Ranking Method:

Prominent issues at the study sites
Prominent Issues at the Study Sites Security in


  • Tradition of water sharing with urban aras

  • Commercial extraction of water

  • Initiative at local level for regulation of commercial water extraction.


  • Traditional Newar settlement (more than 700 years of history)

  • Land use and land cover change- conversion of agricultural land for urban uses.

    Shortage of water supply

Prominent issues at the study sites1
Prominent Issues at the Study Sites Security in


  • Rapid population growth

  • Conversion of agricultural land into non-agricultural uses

  • Wastewater irrigation


  • Industrial and commercial extraction of groundwater

  • Sand mining

  • Rapid conversion of agricultural land for human settlement

Methodological approach
Methodological Approach Security in

  • Collection, synthesis and analysis of secondary data

  • Hydro-meteorological Data

  • Demographic Data (Census figures, VDC Profile)

  • State and Rate of Urbanization (Map analysis, GIS)

  • Primary Data:

  • Direct Observation

  • Household Survey (Socially Differentiated Data- 1164 respondents in 582 households)

  • Focus Group Discussion

  • Informal Interaction and Exchanges

  • Pilot Action:

    Lubhu (Capacity Building in Improving Water Supply Infrastructures and Management of Water Resources)

Key findings
Key Findings: Security in

Water Security (insecurity) Shaped by Urbanization:

  • Visible impact of land use and land cover changes on hydro-ecology (drying of water sources- springs in the peri-urban areas)

  • Competing claimants on peri-urban water sources (rural domestic uses, urban domestic uses, industrial uses, commercial uses including commercial water extraction)

  • Groundwater depletion

  • Diversion of water from agricultural to non-agricultural uses

  • Shift in peri-urban food production system (from cereals to high value crops)

  • Increased preference for non-farm livelihood among young generation. Increase in the peasant workers.

  • Erosion of traditional common pool water sources (tanks, ponds, stone spouts, springs)

  • Access to water increased (Investment in Community Managed Water Supply Systems) but progressively decreasing water availability

Key findings1
Key Findings: Security in

Water Security (Insecurity) Shaped by Climate Change:

  • No trend in rainfall

  • No trend in extreme rainfall events (draught, flood)

  • Distinct trend in warming (both maximum and minimum temperature increasing- cold days becoming warmer and hot days becoming hotter)

  • Stations away from the urban core did not show distinct trend in temperature rise.

    People’s Perception:

  • Decrease in winter rainfall

  • Non-dependable onset and cessation of monsoon rainfall

  • Increase in intensity and duration of summer while shortening of winter.

  • Drying of surface soil quickly after cessation of monsoon, making irrigation inevitable for successful crop production in monsoon.

Key findings2
Key Findings: Security in

Water Security (Insecurity) Shaped by Management Innovation at Local Level:

  • Developing multiple water sources to meet the demand at the household and community level.

  • Conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater.

  • Investment in building household level storage system to be able to hold water to cope with the periods of water scarcity.

  • Community based management innovations (e.g. lottery system at Lubhu) in accessing water at the source.

  • Revival of traditional water systems.

  • Wastewater irrigation in agriculture.

Action needs for water secured and climate resilient urban and peri urban kathmandu
Action Needs for Water Secured and Climate Resilient Urban and Peri-Urban Kathmandu

  • Appreciation at policy level that peri-urban has its own identity, needs and priorities.

  • Water security (in peri-urban and urban areas) finding space and focus in urban planning.

  • Large rainfall is no guarantee to large water availability for domestic and agricultural uses. Surface and groundwater availability is function of complex hydro-geological processes at work.

  • Promotion of safe use of wastewater in agriculture

  • Regulated use of peri-urban natural resources.

  • Building on social capital of the people (knowledge/wisdom, resources and institutions)

Challenges ahead
Challenges Ahead and

Dissemination of the findings to generate action:

- Reaching the planning and policy level to add value in policy processes.

- Reaching the government agencies at the implementation level to add value in designing appropriate intervention strategies and programs.

- Reaching the peri-urban communities (at the study sites and beyond) for informed decision making and management innovations.

- Reaching the water professionals and urban planners (sensitizing them to peri-urban context and realities).

- Translating the findings into educational agenda.