Renewable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation
It is impossible to achieve sustainable well-being and reduction of poverty unless environment issues are addressed. The work RVWRMP does makes a small but important contribution towards mitigation of adverse impacts of climate change.
Micro-hydro development provides sustainable pro-poor, off-grid energy for the rural population and various end-use applications offer sustainable income generation activities (such as oil extraction, grain grinding, and electricity generation, which can be used for establishing small businesses such as computer shops).
The main overall results to be achieved under the Renewable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation component is:
Increased resilience to disasters and climate change as well as promotion of climate change mitigation and adaption.
Climate Change Adaptation
RVWRMP addresses Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) through a variety of approaches. Climate change is one of the cross-cutting themes of the project, and is considered during the design-phase of all activities.
As a water resources management project, environmental issues are a fundamental part of RVWRMP. Micro-level watershed management, including various types of source protection activities, is an important dimension in the planning, implementation and post-construction phases. The technologies applied are mostly labor-intensive with no or very low environmental impacts. Approaches to soil management and erosion control have been piloted and are currently focused in areas directly linked with the water schemes. Especially the northern hills are landslide prone areas and very fragile, with numerous landslides and floods occurring naturally, not only because of human activities. The project makes sure that all the interventions meet DRR standards and criteria.
RVWRMP acknowledges that many things can be achieved with locally available resources when the attitudes and skills are favorable for action. The objective of the low-cost soil conservation training activities is to build awareness among communities about the linkage between environmental protection, soil management and water resources. For instance bio-engineering includes activities such as landslide and stream bank protection works and terrace improvements to prevent negative impacts on the water resources and by the water resources. Soil conservation training is provided to broad range of partners from district level to communities.
Agriculture technologies promoted by the project also take into consideration CCA as much as possible. Some of these climate smart interventions are:
Use of small-scale drip-irrigation systems which need less water
Demonstration of drought- and flood-tolerant crops and varieties
Composting, mulching and cover crops
Promote organic agriculture in home gardens
Demonstrate conservation agriculture
Agroforestry with multipurpose trees
Water harvesting and use of waste water
Use of poly-houses and plastic tunnels for production
In order the strengthen the knowledge on CCA and DRR on community level, RVWRMP implements targeted trainings to Rural Municipality stakeholders in the total project area.
RVWRMP promotes environmentally friendly technologies such as Improved Water Mills (IWM) and Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS). The Improved Water Mills mainly power grain mills along rivers and streams utilizing small-scale hydro-power. The Improved Cooking Stoves require far less fuel wood and additionally reduce indoor smoke significantly. The health benefits of the stoves are significant; they include a reduction of health related problems such as respiratory and eye diseases caused by indoor smoke and health issues related with carrying heavy loads of fuel wood by women. In addition, deforestation due to fuel wood collection remains a severe problem in all of the hill areas.
Altogether an estimated 30,000 families will benefit from the Improved Cooking Stoves and an additional 4,000 families from the Improved Water Mills activities in phase III of the project.
The introduction of these renewable energy technologies improves the well-being of the local population while contributing to both climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Micro Hydro Power construction
Development of micro-hydro power is a relatively low environmental impact solution to provide energy source for rural communities. The more remote and distant the community is from the national electricity grid, the higher the demand for micro-hydro energy is. For this reason RVWRMP engages heavily in the development and construction of micro-hydro power infrastructure and development of micro-enterprises that can make use of the generated electricity.
In total the project has supported 20 micro-hydro power schemes with a total capacity of 832 kW during phases I & II, and will support up to another 12 schemes generating an additional 700 kW of electricity in phase III in the 4 districts of Baitadi, Bajhang, Bajura and Humla. The total population benefitting in phase III will be an estimated 6,000 households.
In order to improve the economic situation of the communities and to ensure sustainability of the micro hydro power plants, the project promotes various end-use promotion activities, mainly in the form of private micro-enterprises utilizing the available electricity. This can range from spices grinding and weaving businesses to electric repair and computer shops.
To manage the hydro-power schemes, they will be linked with local cooperatives through which the financial management and maintenance activities will be managed in a sustainable and transparent manner.