Kathmandu Nepal – On 20 May 2018, WWF Nepal launched Nepal’s first locally-made water mower to clean invasive species in Beeshazari Lake, an important wetland measuring 100 hectares in area in Chitwan National Park.
© WWF Nepal
Developed with support from WWF Nepal and using 80% scrap material, the mower is a cost-effective way of cleaning our wetlands. Built with an investment of less than USD 6,000, the mower, the first of its kind in Nepal, runs on the power of a 220cc upcycled motorcycle engine, weighs 700kg and can carry up to a ton of waste.
Invasive species are a primary means for degradation of wetlands; with increasing numbers, their decomposition adds to the water bed while reducing the overall area of the wetland. Cleaner wetlands contribute to the habitat for species such as tigers, rhinos and various species of birds, and aquatic species such as crocodiles and turtles.
With traditional forms of cleaning proving to be ineffective and labor-intensive, the water mower project was initiated by Gokarna Jung Thapa, Senior GIS Manager of WWF Nepal together with a group of four young engineers – Ram Raj Khanal, Subhash Neupane, Rima Panthi and Ghana Shyam Chaudhary.
With a production time of three months and a test period of one month in Beeshazari Lake, the water mower has been handed over to the local buffer zone users committee for its operation. The mower is used for three days in a week with three people from the committee assigned to the mower.
Given a successful pilot in Chitwan National Park, the water mower will be replicated for use in other wetlands in Nepal.