A joint technical team representing Nepal and India has started a feasibility study for the construction of a high dam on the Saptakoshi River which will provide year-round irrigation facility to a dozen districts from Jhapa to Parsa.
The ambitious multi-billion dollar project will provide irrigation, control floods and generate 3,000 MW of electricity. The Saptakoshi River has seven tributaries and is one of the biggest rivers in Nepal.
The feasibility study will include topological, geological and seismological surveys and drillings across the project site. An environment impact assessment (EIA) will be prepared.
The joint technical team recently visited the office of the Narayani Irrigation Management Division in Birgunj and collected information. An office of the Nepal Territory Saptakoshi High Dam Multipurpose Purpose Project and Sunkoshi Storage Cum Diversion Scheme has been established in Biratnagar to conduct the study, according to Suresh Sah, information officer at the Narayani Irrigation Management Division.
Currently, around 75 to 80 percent of the water of the Saptakoshi flows down to India without being used. Sah said the study would show if the water can be used to irrigate cultivable land in the southern plains of Nepal.
The project will prioritise Bara and Mahottari districts and provide modern irrigation facilities to those districts. “Although the project will touch 12 districts of the Tarai region, the main focus will be on Bara and Mahottari,” said Sah.
“It will not only provide water for irrigation to the two districts but also provide road connectivity, electricity and market access to the agricultural products produced in the districts.” The project aims to build two canals going east and west. The canal going east will supply water to Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa while the one going west will irrigate farmlands in Saptari and Siraha. Likewise, another canal will be built to channelize water to the Kamala Irrigation Project to supply water to Siraha, Dhanusha and Mahottari districts.
The remaining water from the high dam will be channelized to a canal at Karmia to supply water to Sarlahi and Rautahat. “Currently, there is not much water in the canal,” said Sah. “If additional water is supplied to the canal, we will be able to provide year-round irrigation facility to Bara and Parsa districts too.”
Source : The Kathmandu Post