Water Resources in Western Nepal

Peer Reviewed Publications

Pakhtigian, E. L., and Jeuland, M. (2019). Valuing Environmental Quality: Evidence from Western Nepal. Ecological Economics, 158. 158-167. (DOI Link)

Abstract: Environmental quality is rarely prioritized along the development pathways of developing countries, even though little is known about how individuals in these settings value intact environments. In 2017, we implemented a survey to a representative sample of 3660 households living throughout the Karnali and Mahakali River Basins in Western Nepal. As part of the survey, respondents participated in a contingent valuation exercise in which they were asked about how they use environmental services and about their ability and willingness to pay (WTP) for a land conservation program that would prevent future development in and around their villages. Willingness to pay was elicited using a double bounded, dichotomous choice contingent valuation question. We estimate the average monthly WTP for land conservation to be 202 Nrs (US$1.96) and a lower bound of monthly household WTP to be 165 NRs (US$1.60). We find that households with higher levels of education exhibit higher willingness to pay; so too do male respondents. We also find a significant negative relationship between household WTP and both migration and local NGO familiarity.     


Pakhtigian, E. L., Jeuland, M., Bharati, L., and Pandey, V. (In press). The role of hydropower in visions of water resources development for rivers of Western Nepal. International Journal of Water Resources Development. (DOI Link)

Abstract: Water resources can play significant roles in development pathways for water-endowed, low-income countries like Nepal. This paper describes three visions for water resource development in the Karnali and Mahakali Basins of Western Nepal: (i) state-led development, (ii) demand-driven development, and (iii) preservation of ecosystem integrity. The analysis calls attention to water use trade-offs, including those resulting from national priorities such as infrastructure-based hydropower and irrigation, from local drinking water demand, and from environmental conservation concerns. While these visions of water resources development do diverge, common trends appear, including acknowledgment of water management’s role in expanding energy access and increasing agricultural productivity.   

Work in Progress

Jeuland, M. and Pakhtigian, E. L. Hydro-economic modeling of water use trade-offs in Western Nepal.

Shrestha, G., Pakhtigian, E. L., and Jeuland, M. Women who do not migrate: Social interactions and participation in Western Nepal.

Bekchanov, M., Pakhtigian, E. L., Sood, A., and Jeuland M. Hydro-economic modeling framework to address water-energy-environment-food nexus questions at the river basin scale.