Urban water security under a changing climate: Is Nepal's water policy on the right track?

Hemant Raj Ojha, Kamal Devkota, Chandra Pandey, Krishna K. Shrestha, Dil Khatri, Kaustuv Raj Neupane, Basundhara Bhattarai, Anthony B. Zwi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Nepal's urban regions are facing increasing levels of water insecurity under a changing climate. The country has a long history of water policy development while climate-related policies are also emerging at different levels of the new federal republic. It is unclear whether public policy is on the right track to ensure urban water security in the face of growing demand and increasingly variable supply. In this paper, we assess how Nepal's water policy is shaping urban adaptation. We focus on how policies have defined institutional arrangements for water supply and management, allocation of water rights, and the conservation of water source catchments. Policy attention to these issues is crucial for the adaptation of water systems to climate change. Drawing on the review of policy texts and the status of policy implementation in two towns (Dharan and Dhulikhel), we conclude that current policy frameworks and strategies neglect opportunities to facilitate urban water adaptation to climate change. The neglect is seen in escalating conflicts among institutions, an unclear framework for water rights, and inadequate incentives for catchment conservation. We highlight the need for a more coherent and risk sensitive approach to water policy, underpinned by deliberative, research-informed, and learning-based strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-318
Number of pages23
JournalWorld Water Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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