The government will finally study hydropower potential 105 years after start of generation of electricity. The Water and Energy Commission with assistance of the World Bank, and Irrigation and Water Resource Management Project will find hydropower potential along with irrigation capacity.
Many are surprised by two studies by the government. “They could have done a single study but two studies of similar nature have been moved forward,” acting secretary of the commission Keshav Dhwaj Adhikari said. “But there will not be a big loss due to double studies as there is lack of adequate information about hydropower sector in Nepal,” he added.
The study about hydropower and overall water resources to be done with assistance of Rs 600 million from the World Bank will be completed within three years. The other study started by the government with investment of Rs 20 million has already completed the draft of the preliminary study. The study is scheduled to be completed by mid-July 2017. The preliminary report has put hydropower potential at 160,000 MW, according to Joint Secretary at the commission Jivaksha Mandal. Consultant Shield Concern has started study on the basis of Karnali, Gandaki and Koshi river basins. Potential of Mahakali river has not been mentioned as it is shared with India, but the terms of reference given by the commission also includes Mahakali river.
The study done with World Bank assistance, for preparing the master plan for hydropower projects, also aims to identify potential for multiple use of water including that for irrigation and drinking. The study done with government funding will identify capacity of hydropower projects. It would have been better to start a single study as objectives of both the programs are similar.
An official at the commission attributes the duplicity to frequent changes of secretary at the commission and negligence about chances of duplicity, and concedes that the state had to make unnecessary spending of Rs 20 million. The process of selecting consultant through bidding process has been started for the study to be done with World Bank assistance.
Acting secretary Adhikari said hydropower projects will be identified considering the market and Nepalese economy. He added that the studies for Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali prepared in 1984, 1990 and 1998 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be updated. He stated that installed capacity of projects can rise as that of Budhi Gandaki, that was put at 600 MW by JICA, has been increased to 1200 MW and that of Upper Karnali to 900 MW from 300 MW.
Capacity of 83,000 MW determined by one Hari Man Shrestha for his doctorate thesis using limited resources and means 50 years ago has been taken as actual hydropower potential of Nepal.
Source : Karobar Daily