Bhuwan Thapa is a PhD Student in the School of Geography and Development, and a Research Associate working at Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy—both at the University of Arizona. Thapa is working on the Asia component of Work Package 3 of the International Water Security Network. He is conducting a systematic assessment of water security and adaptive capacity in Nepal. The assessment analyzes existing water related issues, biophysical and social vulnerability, and water governance mechanisms to address water security in the Bagmati River basin, one of Nepal’s most densely populated and stressed river basins.
Like many rivers in developing countries, the Bagmati faces multiple pressures, including watershed degradation, minimal environmental flow, flood hazard, overallocation, sewerage discharge, solid-waste dumping, and riverside encroachment. The Asian Development Bank recently initiated an attempt to formulate and establish a river-basin organization and to promote integrated water resource management. Thapa’s study will (i) assemble a bibliography of works on the region and on the topic, (ii) identify and assess stakeholders associated with river and water resource management, (iii) develop a basin profile, and (iv) provide an assessment report on water security and adaptive capacity in Nepal.
A related component of Thapa’s research is part of the Work Package 3 goal to develop a quantitative water security and adaptive-capacity index. He is carrying out a critical assessment of a recently formulated National Water Security Index (NWSI) that appears in a 2013 issue of the Asian Development Bank Outlook. The national index provides a composite score of more than 20 indicators covering diverse aspects of water security, such as access to piped water supply and sanitation, drinking water and wastewater treatment coverage, agricultural productivity, river pollution, and climate exposure and vulnerability. In a paper to be submitted to Environmental Scientist, Thapa and his co-authors Robert Varady and Christopher Scott evaluate the methodology and indicators used in the formulation of the NWSI and evaluates them in the context of other related indices such as the Water Poverty Index and the Water Security Index.