Water Portal / Rainwater Harvesting / Salyan and Dailekh, Nepal

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Rainwater harvesting jars in Dailekh, Nepal.

The water supply plan

Helvetas SI Nepal has developed and implemented a plan to address water management issues in a participatory and integrated manner. The Water Use Master Plan (WUMP) is a tool that puts the local community at the centre of decisions and that looks at water resources, water demands and potential uses in a broad and integrating way, including a prioritized list of water-related infrastructure plans. The tool has proved to be successful and is being replicated by a number of organisations in Nepal and has the interest of the government as well (DoLIDAR).

Although the experiences so far have been very positive, some challenges have been identified: WUMP should address water productivity in agriculture more prominently and should pay more attention to climate change effects. Through its collaboration with RAIN, Helvetas SI Nepal is putting rainwater harvesting more to the forefront, and incorporating a catchment perspective with a 3R approach into the current WUMP module.

Project period: October 2012 – September 2014

Pilot challenge

Socioeconomic and cultural conditions

The 3R WUMP module will be piloted and tested in the field in two regions: Dailekh and Salyan, Midwestern Development Region of Nepal.

The project area in Salyan lies in the upper hills. Problems specific to these areas regarding water are the absence of pipe-line water supply, drying up of existing streams and springs, no potentials of bore well, and thereby high dependence on rainwater for drinking as well as agriculture. Dependence on in situ rain for agriculture limits the production of different agricultural products that require less water in the drier seasons and thus increases food insecurity. The degree of vulnerability is higher amongst the poorer section of the population.

The proposed area in Dailekh is the area with the highest water hardship: it lacks drinking water and has poor hygiene and sanitation. The existing sources of water supply are spring sources located away from the village with very low discharge. About six hours per day during the dry season and five hours per day during the rainy season need to be invested to manage their water. Gravity-driven water supply is not possible in the area. The overall socioeconomic status of the households is a disadvantaged group, i.e. socially discriminated and economically poor.

Pilot landscape

The WUMP 3R module can be applied in all types of physical landscapes.

Following the theoretical development of the module, it will be applied in at least two VDCs in two districts, Dailekh and Salyan, in the midwestern hills of Nepal. In this initial stage, the focus will be on areas where the water hardship is highest. The 3R WUMP module will be piloted in areas where the local water needs for domestic and irrigation water supply cannot be met with the currently available water resources or where the society has an overall interest to capture as much water as possible (e.g. source catchments of a major, inter VDC water supply project).

Pilot purpose

The objective of the 3R WUMP module is to increase the popularity of recharge, retention and reuse (The 3Rs) in operational water-use planning in Nepal for climate change adaptation and improved water resources management. Despite relatively high rainfall patterns, the need for RWH and 3R is high, as the rainfall patterns are becoming more and more unpredictable and sources are drying up. In addition, the physical environment is very challenging (very steep hills).

Incorporating 3R in water management, using administrative boundaries, the HELVETAS SI approach will deviate from water buffer or catchment management. However, it will comply with the objective of the 3R focus on climate change adaptation and will take into account the effects of interventions on a catchment level. This application will be on the side of no regret actions in adapting to climate change, i.e. even if the activity may not directly and effectively support climate change adaptation, it will certainly support local communities and enhance livelihoods of women and marginalized groups by improving increased access to and use of sustainable water services.

The approach aims at improving water quantity and quality within the administrative boundaries of a Village Development Committee (VDC) through the planned and managed recharge, retention and reuse of groundwater and rainwater.

Location & partners

The Salyan district of Nepal. Map source: wikipedia.org
  • Village, district, country: Nationwide + Salyan and Dailekh, Nepal
  • Main partner: HELVETAS SI Nepal
  • Role and responsibility of main partner: 3R WUMP module development, training of partners, implementation of pilot project.
  • Other partners: BSP-Nepal, MetaMeta
  • Role and responsibilities of other partners: MetaMeta of the 3R consortium will contribute to content and provide backstopping. BSP Nepal will be, next to Helvetas SI Nepal, one of the partners to pilot the 3R WUMP module in the field.



  1. Prepare and pilot 3R WUMP module with basic WUMP for Improved integrated water resources management mainstreamed with the issue of 3R
  2. Capacity enhancement, through intensive training, of RAIN partners to apply 3R WUMP module
  3. Improved access to sustainable water sources for MUS


  1. Developing the 3R WUMP module
  2. Training to RAIN partners on 3R WUMP concept
  3. WUMP Facilitator Training
  4. Piloting of 3R WUMP in one VDC of Dailekh district (HELVETAS working area)
  5. Piloting of 3R WUMP in two VDCs of Salyan districts
  6. Implementation of 3R schemes
  7. Technical backstopping to RAIN partners on 3R WUMP piloting
  8. Microfinance training
  9. Sharing Meeting /Workshop at National level (DoLIDAR and other stakeholders)
  10. Monitoring and documentation of the project

3R WUMP process

Helvetas SI Nepal will work in close collaboration with RAIN, the 3R consortium and the Rainwater harvesting capacity centre Nepal in developing and testing (with the VDCs) the module, as well as in setting up the training. Once a first training has been given, the (training) module will be refined. After a second training has been given, field testing of the module will be done. The process will be monitored and documented throughout the project time frame.


This pilot uses the F.I.E.T.S. model of WASH services.

  • Institutional: The WUMP process emphasizes the inclusion and responsibility of all stakeholders in the planning, negotiation and decision making, therefore it improves local governance.
  • Environmental: The 3R module will respect these basic WUMP characteristics; in addition it will emphasize the need for environmental sustainability of the planned interventions and enhance people’s resilience to expected negative climate change effects. Moreover, it will draw more attention to address water productivity and efficient use of water in agriculture.
  • Social: As a participatory and transparent planning process, WUMP empowers marginalized groups to accessing water pursuing equitable sharing of water within and between communities.

SWOT analysis

Here is a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of the project:

  • Integration of the 3R approach into a proved model (WUMP)
  • High level of outreach through network of RAIN and through network of Helvetas SI Nepal
  • Convincing decision makers of cost-effectiveness can be cumbersome (high initial investments of applying the module that result into lower infrastructure investment)
  • The WUMP/3R is a planning tool. This does not imply automatically that the planned interventions are followed by the necessary resources.
  • Possible outscaling to other countries where Helvetas and / or RAIN are active
  • ...
  • To be announced ...
  • ...

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