South Asia Environmental Capacity Building-Agriculture and Water Pollution
Although a small country, Nepal has the longest stretch of the Himalayas, a range that is source of major rivers of the South Asia region. These water bodies are either economically important or serve as habitat for endemic, rare and threatened species. However, increasing human population, climate change and increasing agriculture runoff is causing detrimental effects in the water sources. There is growing use of agrochemicals, e.g. in Nepal the use of agrochemicals has increased by 38 percent from 2006 to 2012. The excessive use of the nutrients get accumulated in the water bodies, causing health problems and even fatalities in some cases.
A large number of policies are formulated and practices are developed in response to water pollution in Nepal. Some of these include Water Resources Act 1992, Water Resource Rules (1993), Water Resources Strategy (2002), National Water Plan (2005) and National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Policy (2009). Despite the availability of the policies and strategies, these policies are seldom coherent with other cross-sectoral issues. Moreover, there is a need of capacity building of national stakeholders, local stakeholders, farmers and water users to address the land-based water pollution.
There are good practices that need to be documented and several of them need to be scaled up to minimize or control the impact of land-based water pollution. Hence, with the financial support of US Department of States, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) and Caritas Switzerland, LI-BIRD along with three regional partners of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is implementing a project to address the issues of land-based water pollution in South Asia region. The project will address the issues by implementing the activities under the following objectives.
Objective 1. Take stock of national policies and strategies on agriculture, livestock and other land-based water pollution;
Objective 2. Strengthen country and regional capacity to address challenges pertaining land-based water pollution and its consequences on ecosystem, biodiversity, human health and livelihoods;
Objective 3. Pilot, test and exchange high-impact water pollution mitigation technologies and practices, and improve agricultural productivity and human health through action research; and
Objective 4. Establish a regional level multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary mechanism to promote regional connectivity for reducing land-based pollution.
Major outcomes of the project include: 1) comprehensive review of policy documents; 2) capacity building of national and local level stakeholders, institutions and universities to address the outcome gaps in policies, strategies, practices and regulatory framework; 3) pilot and test the technologies and practices on land-based water pollutions, payment for ecosystem services; and 4) establish a regional level collaboration mechanism.