Findings from the NAPA II Field visit
Integrated water harvesting and management schemes will constitute an important component in implementing activities under NAPA II. As part of the field visit the project team travelled to Tsirang and Samtse districts to undertake a detailed study of the selected local villages. At Tarayana, we strongly believe that the holistic solutions for water harvesting need to emerge locally from community based water issues.
There is often an assumption that solutions can be delivered by external consultants without really having to understand the local context. It became clear for the team and the community members that local sustainability solutions must not only emerge locally but should also be designed in simple and practical ways. Most of the “expert-driven-capital-intensive” solutions often do not work as sufficient time and energy is not invested in understanding local realities.
The team was exposed to the complex interconnectedness of water issues. It became very clear that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution and providing rainwater harvesting is but a small step in the right direction.
If scant rains and extreme water stress were the main problems in Tsirang villages; water management, dealing with swollen streams in the monsoon was the concern of Samtse villagers – thus making the solution strategies very different for both regions.
The highlight of the field trip for the team was to learn that disturbed 789 eco-systems – due to intense terrace farming or slash and burn and road
construction – wreaks havoc in the local eco-systems. As in any disturbed eco-
system, there is a proliferation of non-native species (alien vegetation) taking
over banks of waterways, springs, streams and road verges. These non-native species are impacting groundwater recharge as well as in some places may be linked to the total disappearance of local springs and streams.
The field trip made the team realize the fragile balance and interconnectedness of eco-systems. When the fine balance is under threat there is a gradual collapse. Shortage or excess rains both are indicators of this collapse in eco- system balance.
Providing locally adaptable solutions that are climate resilient means coming to grips with the changing micro-eco-systems in our remote villages so each region can come up with appropriate integrated solutions which are sustainable in the long run.