HydroNepal

As the population of South Asia has been on the rise, the need for clean energy has been increasing too. However, Nepal is home to one of the most valuable hydrological treasures: The Himalayas. To make the most of the hydrological riches of Nepal, a more comprehensive understanding of its river system is crucial. This will be made possible, thanks to the digitalization of river basins by BWI. The FASEP-funded (by the French Republic Treasury Directorate) HydroNepal project, conducted with the active support and to the benefit of local Nepalese authorities, essentially aims to promote the realisation of Nepal’s hydroelectric potential.

The opportunity for Nepal: become South Asia’s clean energy leader

Booming population of South Asia 

South Asia is going through significant population and economic expansion. The Asian Development Bank notes that with a birth rate of 1% and an economic growth rate of approximately 7%, the GDP of South Asia is projected to double between 2020 and 2030. However, the current energy infrastructures in countries like India, Bangladesh, and Nepal are not equipped to handle the increased electricity demands resulting from this rapid growth. 

Climate change 

The acceleration of climate change leads to severe hydro-climatic events like floods and atypical droughts, impacting both agriculture and hydroelectric power production. Additionally, the rapid melting of glaciers, combined with heavy rainfall, is a major concern for Nepalese authorities, as it results in hundreds of casualties each year due to landslides and floods.

Room for economic development

Nepal stands among the region’s poorest and economically underdeveloped nations. The nation is still in the early stages of its democratic transition, having recently emerged from a precarious political and social environment.

Commitments with neighbors

Nepal is home to over 6000 rivers, making it the hydrological nucleus of South Asia. In order to meet the rising electricity needs in South Asia as a result of the increasing population, Nepal pledged to annually export 10GW of electricity to its neighboring countries by 2035. Currently though, Nepal is generating 1.2GW of hydroelectric power annually. Nepal needs to create a plan for constructing hydroelectric facilities, strategically placing them along the rivers in the Himalayan basin.

Goals of the HydroNepal project 

Meeting Nepal’s clean energy and climate commitments

Nepal has an estimated achievable hydroelectric potential of around 43GW by 2035. The HydroNepal project aims to provide a swift and cost-effective strategy for optimizing the location of its hydroelectric infrastructure by digitizing the hydrographic network to identify suitable production sites within 18 months. This will enable Nepal to begin its civil engineering investments promptly, with France supporting Nepal in fulfilling its energy export commitments.

Nepal’s economic development

Nepal has a rich reserve of hydrological resources, thanks to the presence of the Himalayan mountain range in the nation. To fully harness the abundant water resources, a deeper comprehension of river hydrology—enabled by the digitalization of river basins suggested by BWI in the HydroNepal project—will help unlock the country’s hydroelectric potential. Consequently, this would help contribute to the country’s economical development too. 

Resilience to natural disasters and climate change

Thanks to the digitalization of river basins and accurate river discharge forecasts provided by BWI, Nepal can build resilience to natural disasters like floods and droughts. 

Funding and institutional partners

Local institutional partners

Local private partner

Club FASEP

Project team

Mohamad Hamze

Dr. Mohamad Hamze

HydroNepal project manager

Olivier Chazal

HydroNepal Club FASEP facilitator

Dr. Anil Kumar Khanal

HydroNepal scientific officer