Micro-hydro electricity project lights up Nepal's Terai Arc Landscape | WWF

Micro-hydro electricity project lights up Nepal's Terai Arc Landscape

Posted on 01 March 2005
Footprint of a Bengal tiger in the Royal Bardia National Park, Terai Arc, Nepal.
© WWF / Jeff Foott
Butwal, Nepal – A micro-hydro project supported by WWF’s Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) Programme has brought electricity to the local inhabitants of Khursane in the Palpa district of Nepal. 
Before the generation of electricity, locals used kerosene for light. But the kerosene lamps often posed health hazards. 
“Electricity has contributed a lot to the villagers’ general awareness,” said Thaneshwor Ghimire, a local resident. “Villagers now listen to radio programmes and are updated on current affairs.” 
In addition, villagers are finding that the supplied electricity is cheaper to use than batteries for their radios and transistors. 
“Students are benefiting most from electricity,” said Laxmi Ghimire who studies in a village school. “It helps us stay up late so that we can do homework.” 
The TAL Programme provided 400,000 Nepalese Rupees (€4,375) for the micro-hydro project while local people contributed 300,000NRs. 
According to WWF-Nepal, the project was designed to generate 10kw of electricity, but due to limitation of resources it produces only 2–5kw. Apart from lighting, the water used to generate electricity is also used for irrigation. The micro-hydro project is also helping generate revenue for social works by selling electricity to neighbouring villages. 
“Thirty-three households of Dhap Khola village are using the electricity. We’re generating two thousand rupee per month from electricity tariffs,” said Neem Maya Pandey, a member of the Bhut Khola Community Forest User Group. Likewise, a total of 38 households from the Bar Pokhari Community Forest User Group are also benefiting from the electricity project. 
“I have spent all my life in the darkness of rural life. Now I feel comfortable with electricity at my home,” says Tom Aryal, a 61-year old resident of the village. 
Most of these villages lie near the degraded forests of Dovan. 
The Terai Arc Landscape Programme’s support for the hydro-electricity project has generated a positive attitude in local communities towards forests conservation. The local forest user groups are also contributing significantly to forests conservation. 
“Three decades of biodiversity conservation in Nepal has shown that effective conservation is not possible without the support and stewardship of local people,” said Dhana Rai, co-manager of the Terai Arc Landscape Programme. 
“The joint initiative at the grassroots level has encouraged us and we will continue to support such enthusiastic people.” 
The Siwalik foothill forests in the Dovan region is the critical remaining link between the Royal Chitwan National Park in central Nepal and the forested areas and protected areas in the western part of Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape. Management and restoration of this area is important to maintain dispersal and gene flow of tiger and other mega-terrestrial wildlife.  
Located in the shadow of the Himalayas, the Terai Arc covers 5 million hectares from Nepal's Bagmati River in the east to India's Yamuna River in the west.

The rich grasslands and forests provide critical habitat not only for swamp deer, but also greater one-horned rhinoceros, royal Bengal tigers, and Asian elephants, as well as 80 other mammal species, 47 reptile and amphibian species, 556 bird species, and more than 2,100 flowering plant species. The region is also home to more than six million people who depend on its resources for their livelihoods. 
The Terai Arc forms part of the Terai Duar Savannas and Grasslands ecoregion, one of WWF's Global 200 ecoregions — a science-based global ranking of the world's most biologically outstanding habitats and the regions on which WWF concentrates its efforts.
For further information:
Sangita Shrestha Singh, Communication Officer
WWF Nepal Programme Office
Tel: +977 1 4434820
E-Mail: sangita.shrestha@wwfnepal.org
Footprint of a Bengal tiger in the Royal Bardia National Park, Terai Arc, Nepal.
© WWF / Jeff Foott Enlarge