Nepal—Karnali Water Security Activity (KAWAS)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2021-2026

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country: Nepal

Solutions: Environment

Despite pockets of progress, Nepal’s water security, as measured by the metrics of equity, functionality, and ecosystem health, is among the weakest in Asia. Recent achievements, such as the reduction of open defecation, are impressive—but fragile, especially in the Karnali River Basin. The Nepal Karnali Water Security Activity (KAWAS) works across the Karnali River Basin in Western Nepal to promote healthy, resilient, and water-secure communities by improving water resources management practices, drinking water supply and multiple-use systems, and fecal sludge management access and treatment plants.

We are using a OneWater approach that knits together actors (community, municipal, watershed, and national) to achieve water security goals. OneWater creates an integrated vision and drives collective action in the Karnali River Basin by mapping assets, risks, and attitudes; convening stakeholders to align interests; co-designing and co-implementing plans and interventions; and rigorously monitoring, learning, and adapting for impact and sustainability.

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Sample Activities

  • Strengthen water management systems for safe and sustainable water services, including climate-resilient water safety plans.
  • Develop social behavior change strategy, campaign, and capacity-strengthening measures for water safety and conservation.
  • Conduct citywide sanitation planning exercises that include fecal sludge management, city drainage, and solid waste systems.
  • Develop policies and regulations for improved watershed-level water resource management.
  • Support the identification of ecologically significant areas to conserve biodiversity and water.


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