Framework for Effectiveness and Resilience of Irrigation

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The main planning phase is now complete with the submission of this inception report, but the work plan and study selection will be updated and finalised following an inception workshop. In view of the recent earthquake, there may need to be a more far-reaching review of the programme which we will decide after a further meeting in the coming days with DOI and in consultation with CDKN. We have compiled an extensive body of literature, much of which is listed in the Appendix. We will review this over the next few months, with a focus on studies which offer practical guidance on climate resilience as opposed to more general statements of climate vulnerability and risks.


There are three main strands to the research: desk-based studies of the irrigation sector; climate assessments; and field studies. These will be synthesized and brought together in the final framework document. The first phase of this work will be undertaken by the end of monsoon, and will cover preliminary findings for all three strands. It will be summarised in the interim report which will be draft framework for resilience, by the end of 2015.

This interim report will also inform the design of more detailed field studies for 2016, including any additional institutional assessments and updates to the climate studies. A draft final framework will be prepared after completion of the 2016 field work, and this will be finalised after the final workshop

Capacity building

Capacity building will be undertaken mainly through on-the-job training, particularly for staff of the DOI Climate Unit and the regional directorate throughout the study. This will be augmented through workshops at key stages of the study. An element of capacity building for farmers will be achieved through their participation in the field work.

Deliverables and Dissemination

  • Inception report
  • CDKN M&E documents
  • Framework for and effectiveness of small and medium scale irrigation systems in Nepal
  • CDKN progress report
  • Journal paper, submitted
  • Blogs, news, flyers, and briefing papers of the project.
  • Briefing papers / policy briefs
  • Journal papers (at least one paper submitted to an academic, ideally open access) [Feb 2017]
  • Presentation of research results at relevant national, regional and international events and conferences.

These will be disseminated through workshops and consultations as required, together with review workshops on main deliverables.

Potential Additional activities

There is potential to expand the scope of the study to strengthen the outputs, to undertake additional capacity building to ensure that the findings are put into use, or to carry out additional activities.

Additional field work

The study currently envisages a fairly limited programme of fieldwork, based on a reconnaissance of three river basins in the monsoon 2015, a more detailed study in selected areas in spring 2016 and verification of the monsoon situation in 2016. Whilst we believe this will be sufficient to identify the range of situations and the risks to resilience, further studies would increase the degree of confidence in the findings. This would enable more detailed and specific recommendations for increasing the resilience in different locations agro-ecological regions which would improve the value and acceptability of the resulting framework. DOI have stressed that they see the value of the study in being based on rigorous field work and would welcome an increase in the extent of fieldwork undertaken.

Additional studies

There is a consensus that design parameters procedures, as described in the 1990 PDSP manuals are now out of date. More hydro-meteorological data is now available so design flood and low flow calculations could be improved but, more importantly, climate change considerations were not recognised in the 1990 manual. DOI have expressed the need for a new design manual – probably in the form of an additional volume to the current set of design manuals – and indicated that they would see this as a tangible and valued output from the study.

Capacity building

There is always a risk that studies remain theoretical, with their findings not put into practice. This risk could be mitigated by further capacity building activities, including greater involvement of DOI and DOA staff as well as farmers in an extended programme of fieldwork. The climate change unit in DOI is new and very small; this could be strengthened through a more systematic capacity building programme. It is envisaged that climate change units will be formed at regional level and we will staff with an interest in climate change to work on the field studies. Further capacity-building for these staff would be valuable as much of the planning and design for small and medium irrigation is undertaken at regional rather than central level. This capacity building is likely to be most effective if undertaken ‘on-the-job’ by working directly with our team during the study,


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