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20 Mar, 2019

As part of the ongoing initiatives to observe the Nepal National Water and Whether Week (NNWWW) from March 17-23, 2019, a day-long water conference was organized by NTNC in collaboration with the Himalayan Tiger Foundation (HTF) on March 19. In Nepal the special week is designated to celebrate both the World Water Day (WWD) and the World Meteorological Day (WMD) held every year on March 22 and March 23.

Participants at the conference, who were mostly made up of students from Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University, along with representatives from conservation organizations and government, were brought together to draw from ongoing research studies and insights about some of the most pertinent issues facing water, whether and wildlife-related realties in Nepal.

A total of six focused sessions on the multi-faceted aspects of water systems in Nepal—from biodiversity conservation to socio-economic aspects to development perspectives—were covered during these. Topics covered included: 'Environmental Flows and Conservation of Aquatic Animals' by Mr. Sada from WWF Nepal; 'Balancing Water Development with Sustainability and Equity: Water Availability Assessment as an Entry Point' by Dr. Vishnu Prasad Pandey from IWMI Nepal; 'Tigers and Water Management' by Prof. Dr. Jasper Griffioen from Utrecht University, Netherlands; Habitat Dynamics and Tiger Conservation in Bardia National Park by Mr. Shyam Thapa from NTNC; 'Floodplain Dynamics and Tiger-Rhino Conservation in Chitwan National Park' by Mr. Babu Ram Lamichhane from NTNC; 'Introduction on Water Management for the 21st Century according to the Dutch Delta Programme Concept' by Prof. Dr. Jasper Griffioen. To draw on insights and shared perspectives about integrating scientific solutions for water-related management processes in the country, a separate discussion session following the presentations was moderated by Mr. Cas de Stoppelaar, President of Himalayan Tiger Foundation.

Discussions from the conference clearly indicate the need of an integrated water management system, one that is able to keep up with the complexities of climate, conservation and community all together. To do this there is a need to prioritize better ways of understanding groundwater-surfacewater systems, and how they will affect some of Nepal's flagship wildlife species such as tigers and rhinos in the future. Insights from the 'Dutch Delta Programme' in the Netherlands indicate for an integrated water management model that is built on a shared vision, on science and on sustainability. Keeping with the targets of the sustainable development goals, in which this year's World Water Day theme is 'leaving no one behind', at NTNC, our research advocates for an integrated water management model that is able to link to the chain of events that connects ground-surface water to healthy tiger habitat to high-value tourism, to more prosperous communities.