Tuesday Oct 3, 2023
Tuesday Oct 3, 2023

Climate Change obstructs Hydropower projects

2022 Mar 14, 17:03,
A view of submerged house in Melamchi Bazaar of Melamchi Municipality-11 in Sindhupalchowk district, on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Flooded Indrawati River gushed into Melamchi Bazaar following incessant reainfall. Photo: RSS

 The incessant rains of last July caused severe flooding in Dordi Corridor and Seti River. Most of the hydropower projects under construction were badly affected. The floods in Melamchi also caused problems in the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, a project of national pride.

The Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project was shut down for almost four years due to floods in the Bhotekoshi River a few years ago. Last July's floods alone caused a loss of about Rs 3 billion in the energy sector. In the last three years alone, floods have caused a loss of Rs. 6 billion in the energy sector. The project was made safer by lowering the waters of the Upper Tamakoshi Reservoir last August when heavy rains fell in Tibet, an autonomous region of China, the upper reservoir of the Tamakoshi River.

 Due to climate change, the melting of glaciers in the Himalayan region has increased. Similarly, heavy rains fell in Manang, Bajura, Bajhang and other Himalayan regions last July. Good efforts have been made by the government and non-government sector to reduce the water level in Chho Rolpa Lake. There are more than three dozen small and large glacial lakes in the upper reservoir area of ​​Bhotekoshi alone.

Many glaciers and lakes have also started appearing in the Solukhumbu area. Glaciers and glaciers are increasing in size as global temperatures rise. As a result, the risk is increasing in the lower coastal areas. Dozens of sheep and goats have been swept away by a recent avalanche in Mustang.

A few years ago, a sudden flood in the Seti River in Kaski caused great loss of life and property. Most of the rivers and streams of Nepal flow from north to south and are vertical in nature. The water level in the river is rising due to the rise in temperature. This has increased the risk in the hydropower projects constructed on the river.

According to Sandeep Shah, an energy entrepreneur who worked on the foreign-invested Khimti and Bhotekoshi hydropower projects, a study of satellite data after the construction of the projects in 1990 found that there were about 40 glaciers in Chinese territory. He said that the Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project has been constructed by studying the details of major floods in those rivers even in 1930 and 1981.

At the interaction on 'Provision of Flood and Early Warning System in Hydropower Project and Cooperation with Local Bodies', the participants stressed on the need to prepare before starting the construction of the hydropower project for risk reduction.

He said that the impact of global climate change due to carbon emissions was greater in the Himalayan region, adding that the risk could be mitigated only with the joint efforts of governmental and non-governmental bodies and all local bodies concerned. Some of the projects constructed by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) have weather forecasting system connected but no such system has been installed in the projects constructed by the private sector and are in the process of construction. According to NEA Deputy Executive Director Ramji Bhandari, 'gauge stations' have been set up at Marshyangdi and Tamakoshi. He said that risk preparation and river forecasting are obtained from that.

The government is doing its job by establishing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority for Natural Disaster and Risk Reduction. According to NEA Chief Executive Officer Anil Pokharel, the nature of floods has changed in the last 20 years. The amount of risk has increased. Stating that the trend of rains has changed due to the loss of Rs.

A nine-point memorandum of understanding has been signed between Nepal and China to exchange disaster warning. NEA is also studying the risk of floods, fires and rivers and is also cooperating with the Department of Water and Meteorology, said Pokharel.

Former Minister Ganesh Shah said that the risk of floods and landslides has increased due to the belief that there is no development without dozers. He said that all the bodies concerned in the field of water science should study it thoroughly and make joint efforts for risk reduction.

He said that investment should be made in water by transferring and localizing knowledge through proper use of science and technology. According to Ram Prasad Dhital, former head of the Center for Promotion of Alternative Energy, while focusing on how to avoid floods and landslides, the emphasis should be on sharing the share of the rising cost.

 He pointed out the need to work in such a way that the stakeholders have equal share in reducing the risk as the risk in the river has increased and it will affect the entire region. According to energy entrepreneur Dr. Suvarnadas Shrestha, in order to reduce the risk of floods and landslides, a large number of trees should be planted on the upper coast, flood warning system should be made effective and risk-tolerant structures should be constructed.

As the importance of information system is increasing, Director General of the Department of Water and Meteorology Kamal Raj Joshi urges the energy entrepreneurs to pay attention to it. He said that the flood warning system of Nepal was strong in South Asia and also achieved the expected success in weather forecasting.

As the risk can be reduced only through the joint efforts of energy entrepreneurs, departments and other stakeholders, Director General Joshi urged the hydropower project to connect weather forecasting system in its watershed area.

Jit Bahadur Rai, Chairman of Maijogmai Village Municipality of Ilam and Mahesh Basnet, Chief of Ilam Municipality briefed about the policies and programs adopted by the local government to reduce the risks. The parties had the same opinion.


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