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Arsenic Threat and Irrigation Management in Nepal - Preliminary Findings from the Narayani Irrigation Command Area
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Nepal requires the management of medium to large irrigation systems to be modernized. Low water use efficiency, low level of collection of irrigation service fees, deteriorating stage of basic infrastructure of many agency managed irrigation systems, are all indicators of the need for modernization. His Majesty’s Government of Nepal has recently undertaken some significant initiatives in this direction. Adaptation of a new Water Resource Strategy, 2002 and subsequently the new Irrigation Policy 2003 are the most pertinent among them. The present challenge is to convert the policy directives and the visions of the long-term plans like the Agriculture Perspective Plan (1995-2015), 10th Five Year Development Plan and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (2003-2006) into concrete and practical actions. One new issue that has recently entered the scenario is the issue of Arsenic in the groundwater. It has questioned APP’s greater focus on the use of groundwater for achievement of year round irrigation. Available documents indicate that Nepal’s 24 districts, including all 20 Terai districts and four hill districts have shown Arsenic contamination in groundwater. About one third of the total 29,953 tubewells tested for up to December 2003 have shown Arsenic concentration with over 10 ppb which according to WHO guidelines are not acceptable for consumption. Even according to the Nepal Interim Standard (50 ppb), about 7% of the total is not acceptable for consumption. As part of the development of a strategy for irrigation management modernization it was considered necessary to investigate further on the issue of groundwater arsenic contamination. Thus a study was proposed aiming to create a better understanding of the actual situation of the Terai of Nepal. Command area of Narayani Irrigation System was taken as the sample for the study. Through the study it was aimed to create partnership with other institutions involved in the arsenic studies and to initiate further thinking in DOI about building a Strategy for Irrigation Management Modernization (SIMM). Three national consultants were recruited for the study: one from the Planning Division of the Department of Irrigation, the second from Tribhuvan University, Institute of Medicine and the third from the On-farm Water Management Program. All three members worked as a team for the preparation of this report.

#Agriculture #FAO #2004 #Publication
FAO ,   (2004 )
Type / Script:
Publication in English
Thematic Group:
 FAO : Food and Agriculture Organization
04.02.01  -  Crop Management
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