08 Nov Rajan Subedi
Rajan Subedi has more than 8 years of experience in the International Development Organizations in the field of disaster risk management and Transboundary Water Governance. He has obtained his master’s degree in Environmental Science from Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuwan University, Nepal. He has also worked in the technical group formed by Government of Nepal in 2016 to revise the Local Disaster Management Planning Guideline of Nepal. Currently, Mr. Subedi is associated with Oxfam as a team leader for strategic leadership to Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA) project.
Transboundary River Water Management Through Citizen Science Approach; A Case From Mahakali Basin
Mahakali River runs across India and Nepal and acts as International boundaries between two countries. The Mahakali river divides India (Uttarakhand province) and Nepal (Sudurpaschim province) into most of the areas. The river flows to Uttarpradesh of India. The communities living along the river of both countries are dependent on the riverine resources (water for drinking and irrigation, sand, recreation, cultural).
There are various challenges in the management of water resources in the Mahakali basin. They include water pollution, lack of Early Warning communication flow, inadequate distribution of irrigation water, reducing fishes, climate-related hazards, haphazard construction of infrastructure. The haphazard urbanization, conflict among the communities of two countries and differences in technical and financial capacity between neighboring states has triggered the situation affecting to riverine communities.
To understand the impacts of challenges in Mahakali basin, Transboundary Rivers of South Asia project has used Citizen Science approach to measure the water pollutants of Mahakali river. The approach helps to engage the communities of both countries to measure the pollutants. The pollutants include solid waste, sewage, and pesticides used in the Mahakali basin. The field survey, focus group discussions, key questionnaire surveys, water quality test (PH, Dissolved Oxygen, Biological Oxygen Demand, Turbidity) were carried out to identify pollutants entering the river.
The study revealed river pollution and is increasing in trend. Both communities are actively generating data and planned to develop the action plan to minimize the pollutants. These action plans will be shared to the local government of both the countries to develop and align with their national plans. The representatives of the local government of both countries have already committed to implementing the findings of citizen science.
It is recommended that Community-led water observatories (Citizen Science) approach helps in developing the transboundary water cooperation minimizing the pollutants of Transboundary river.