Tapping Nepal’s Enormous Hydropower Potentialities

|  K.P Sharma Oli  |

With over 6,000 rivers and rivulets, NEPAL boasts enormous potentialities for hydropower development, ever drop of water that flows from Nepal daily is worth generating a huge amount of revenue, and employment opportunities. Despite such prospectus, Nepal has bean able to generate only about 556.800 MW of hydropower. This is just 0.67 per cent of the total capacity. Less then 20 percent of the total population of the country has access to electricity.

Power shortage has become a major impediment for gearing up Nepal"s economic development process. Taking into account the vast hydropower potential, Nepal could be a big power producer and exporter. After meeting the growing domestic power demand, Nepal could export a lot of electricity to her neighbors. But most of these potentialities have remained untapped.

The derivative benefits of the Nepalese hydropower sector could be fare reaching, surpassing benefits derived from other sectors of the national economy. This is such an area where we can work in a win-win situation, get full return of the capital invested timely, and us modern technology for marketing the power and its distributions to accelerate its growth. Proper harnessing of water resource helps Nepal gear up her economic growth and raises the living standard of the people. This sector is so viable that it can shape a bright future of the country. Reports indicate that poor countries with access to improved water and sanitation have 3.7 per cent annual growth in GDP , while those without this infrastructure have 0.1 per cent growth.

Hydropower is a form of clean energy. At present, the concept of developing clean energy is gaining ground worldwide. The development of this type of energy helps reduce dependency on traditional source of energy, including the important of the petroleum products, sets in ecological balance and controls forest depletion. Besides, it eases stress on foreign currency, maintains balance of payment, and helps ensure greater energy security.

Energy security has been on of the burning needs of the hour globally. Countries are in need for energy to achieve the goals of high economic growth. Rising energy demand and inadequate power supply is posing a serious challenge to all the countries in South Asia. No country can meets its development and growth goals without having safe, secure, renewable and stable energy supplies. Hydropower can be the sole source of these supplies.

Nepal"s immediate neighbors – India and China- are booming economic that face growing challenges of meeting there energy demands. Our water resources hold a great deal of promise and opportunities not only for us but also for our neighbors and other countries in the region. Water also provides an opportunity to establish appropriate development linkages. The generation of power from Nepal"s water resources can have an electrifying effect on the country"s socio- economic sector. So it is high time that some concrete projects with immediate impact on the people"s lives are launched. It is inconceivable to think of Nepal"s economic development without harnessing its untapped natural resources. Water is a precious asset; ever drop of it, especially fresh water that is available abundantly in Nepal has multifarious uses for drinking, irrigation, and navigation and others.
We need to step up measure for sensitizing all stakeholders, including entrepreneurs and financial institutions to explore ways to invest for the development of hydropower in Nepal. We need to highlight investment opportunities in Nepal"s hydropower sector, and its trade and export mechanisms in order to attract investors to this highly potential sector. Nepal has adopted the policy of facilitating entrepreneurs and helping forge partnership with them in the development of water resources for mutual benefits.

Any resource that remains hidden or unutilized and does not come to the people benefit is not considered as meaningful resource. Nepal needs a lot of investment to bring its water resource to the us of the people. We need to have more innovative ideas and plans to develop water resources into sustainable source for development. For this, we need a lot of investments from external agencies.

It is encouraging to see an increased interest of investors in the development of Nepal"s hydropower potentialities in recent times. We no need to focus our efforts on creating a more conducive environment for hydropower development. We should remain committed to playing the role as a facilitator in developing necessary infrastructures and policy framework in order to boost private entrepreneurship.

As Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, I was on a state visit to India in 2006. During the visit, I had held discussion with the representatives of the Indian government about attracting Indian investors to Nepal. Finally India has agreed to construct a 207 MW hydropower project with its grant assistance in Rapti of west Nepal.

We dream of and firmly believe in the judicious development of this potentiality. Balancing of economic growth, social development and environmental protection and immensely contribute our local, nation and regional economics. Development of hydropower is vital part of our future. The vision of sustainable development is enshrined in our hydropower development policy. We have commitment to 100 per cent rural electrification. We understand and consider hydropower as a commodity that will provide Nepal is purchasing power and leverage to fuel its growth.

It needs to mention that our water resources can be vital means to bring about drastic changes in the living standards of the people. Development of water resources and tourism could help translate the poor Nepalese economy into a prosperous and inclusive one. The government has to strive for it. For an inclusive economy, we have to increase investments in rural areas to mainstream excluded and marginalized groups, and create a sense of belongingness in them.