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REPORT: Adaptation to Climate Change in the Hydroelectricity Sector in Nepal

At the request of the Government of Nepal, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) funded this study on the ‘Adaptation to Climate Change in the Hydroelectricity Sector in Nepal’. The work is led by Nepal Development Research Institute (NDRI) – Nepal, working in collaboration with Practical Action Consulting (PAC), Nepal and the Global Climate Adaptation Partnership Limited (GCAP)-UK. The objectives of the study are to:

 Develop a solid evidence base on the vulnerability of the hydroelectricity-sector to climate change

 Identify viable adaptation options that enhance resilience;

 Understand and address the challenges of mainstreaming adaptation in the sector;

 To build capacity and help enable adaptation action amongst policy makers and the private sector.

Assessing the future impacts of climate change on the hydro-electricity sector in Nepal is very challenging due to the complex climate and hydrology, as well as the very large changes in elevation that occur across the country. Projections of future climate change show very high uncertainty, with large differences across future scenarios and between climate models.

To address this problem, the study has adopted an iterative climate risk management methodology (Figure 0-1) that specifically addresses the main objectives of the study using three iterative steps:

Step 1- Vulnerability Assessment using the Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) approach;

Step 2- Identification of Adaptation Options using the Adaptation Pathways approach and;

Step 3- Understand and address mainstreaming of adaptation in the sector through Institutional Analysis and identification of entry points and barriers.

This has been complemented with extensive stakeholder engagement, with government, the regulator, developers and the private sector with the aim to build capacity for policy makers and the private sector for adaptation.

A Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) methodology based on a “bottom up” decision-scaling approach is used to test the vulnerability of the hydroelectricity sector in Nepal to climate change. This starts by assessing the sensitivity of Nepal’s present hydropower systems – and their performance – to the current climate and then assesses how future climate change could affect this.

The method identifies key performance indicators (PI) significant for hydro-energy generation that may be sensitive to climate and thus puts the initial emphasis on understanding how the present meteorological and hydrological variability affect current operations and planned investments. This has the advantage of focusing the analysis on what matters! It can then look at future climate change, including uncertainty, and see how important future changes could be and how these key PI are affected.

Picture: CIF Action

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