Monday Jul 4, 2022
Monday Jul 4, 2022

After 26 years Nepal finally gets water from Tanakpur

It has been 26 years since Nepal and India signed the Mahakali treaty, but Nepal is finally receiving irrigation water from Tanakpur dam this year.

2021 Nov 19, 12:33,

Nepal will get water from Tanakpur dam of the Mahakali River from January 2022. Nepal is finally getting the water from Tanakpur dam, 26 long years after the treaty was signed between Nepal and India.

According to Sushil Chandra Acharya, Director General of the Department of Irrigation, India has informed they will release water from Tanakpur to the territories of Nepal towards the end of December. "For the first time, we are getting water from the Tanakpur Barrage," he said.

Irrigation infrastructures are not ready at the moment to receive India’s water from Tanakpur as per the treaty. According to the treaty, India must send 300 cusecs of water from Tanakpur Dam to Nepal during the dry season and 1000 cusecs during rainy seasons.

Nepal is preparing the Mahakali Irrigation Project for the utilization of water. The Mahakali Treaty states that India should build a canal on the left side of the Dam along with the head regulator (water control plant) up to the Nepal-India border. According to the treaty, a 1,200-meter canal was to be constructed from Tanakpur Barrage to Bhimdatta Municipality-9, Matina on the Nepal-India border.

However, after resolving the long-standing contradiction, India started constructing the canal as per the treaty last December only. According to Krishna Khanal, Deputy Director General of Irrigation Department, the Government of India has stated that the canal will be ready by the end of December.

Nepal had sent its technical proposal to build this canal in 2014. However, the Indian side was reluctant to build it, citing technical reasons. During the visit of previous Energy Secretary, Dinesh Kumar Ghimire to India in Poush 2077, it was agreed that India would immediately build the link canal connecting the border. India sped up the canal construction following the agreement, said Deputy Director General Khanal.

Since the Fiscal Year 2063/64, Nepal has been investing in Mahakali Irrigation’s third project for irrigation by bringing water from this canal. The main canal is being constructed from Matina of Kanchanpur to Malakhet of Kailali under the project. Khanal informed that 12 out of proposed 55 kilometers of canal have been completed so far. The department has also stated that construction work of 28 kilometers is going on in the main section.

After the completion of this project, irrigation facility will reach Brahmadev and Tribhuvannagar areas at all times of the year. When the construction is completed, 33,000 hectares of land in Kailali and Kanchanpur will be irrigated. Khanal informed that the government has a plan to divert the water from this canal to Dodhara Chandni for irrigation as well.

According to Mr. Khanal, the irrigation infrastructure is not ready to be used if India releases water from Tanakpur as per the treaty. "As the canals are being prepared, we are not in a position to use all the water right now," added Deputy Director General Khanal added, “About 3,000 hectares will be receiving irrigation facilities immediately, but we plan on constructing more sub-canals to distribute and utilize all the water we receive.”

A detailed feasibility study of Mahakali Project-III was conducted in 2001. The cost of the project, which was estimated to be Rs 11.16 billion, is now expected to exceed Rs 35 billion, according to the Auditor General's report. According to the master plan, the estimated cost has increased by 214% due to untimely work.


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