12 research outputs found

    Socio-environmental dynamics and emerging groundwater dependencies in peri-urban Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

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    Groundwater is an increasingly important source of water supply in Kathmandu Valley, one of the fastest-growing South-Asian urban agglomerations. A groundwater policy drafted in 2012 was partly an outcome of an institutional restructuring of water management in Kathmandu Valley. Our findings in this article show that this policy lacks attention to peri-urban dynamics of change and growth and does little to address the unplanned and unregulated groundwater use in peri-urban locations in the valley, which urbanises at a faster rate than the main city. This article discusses the growing use of, and dependence on, groundwater in these rapidly evolving peri-urban spaces. Groundwater use continues to increase, despite growing protests and worries about its consequences. Our findings show that the polarised views and local conflicts around groundwater exploitation are the outcome of multiple entanglements: sectoral divides and overlapping responsibilities in water institutions, governance and management; social and economic transformations in peri-urban spaces; the invisibility of groundwater; and ambiguity in the hydrological dynamics of conjunctive water use. While we see no easy solutions to these problems, the policy-relevant recommendations we derive from our analysis of the drivers and the dynamics of using, governing and managing groundwater draw attention to the complex on-the-ground realities that need to be better understood for addressing macro-micro gaps in (ground)water management

    The hydro-social dynamics of exclusion and water insecurity of Dalits in peri-urban Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: fluid yet unchanging

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    Processes of urbanisation create peri-urban spaces that are socially and institutionally fluid. In this article, we analyse how contestations and competition over declining water resources in peri-urban Kathmandu Valley in Nepal reshape water use, access and rights as well as user communities themselves, by creating and reproducing new and existing exclusions and solidarities. Traditional caste-based discriminatory practices, prohibiting Dalits from physically accessing water from sources used by higher castes, are said to be no longer practiced in Nepal. However, our findings show that, exclusion persists for Dalits even though the characteristics of exclusion have changed. In situations of competing water claims in the research location, Dalit households, unlike higher-caste groups, are unable to exercise prior-use water rights. Their water insecurity is compounded by their relative inability to mobilise political, social and economic resources to claim and access new water services and institutions. By juxtaposing the hydro-social and social exclusion analytical frameworks, we demonstrate how exclusions as well as interpretations and experiences of water (in)security are reified in post-Maoist, supposedly inclusive Nepa

    Inclusive policies, exclusionary practices : unfolding the paradox of prolonged urban informality debates in urbanising Nepal

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    Social inclusion and poverty alleviation are central to the United Nations (UN) new urban agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities. In Nepal, the goal of the National Urban Agenda is to ‚Äúmake cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, sustainable and smart to enhance their ability to provide decent jobs and adequate housing, infrastructure and services to the ever-growing urban population‚ÄĚ. Against this backdrop, many international and national non-governmental organisations and the national federations of informal settlers in Nepal have been advocating for the rights of urban informal settlers to be included in the urban planning processes. In response, the Nepal government has formulated new policies to assess the ‚Äúauthenticity‚ÄĚ of informal settlers and accelerate the informal to formal transition process. Drawing from the textual analysis of existing national policies, literature and media publications, in this paper, we document what (dis)connections and contradictions exist in the formal policies and interventions that the national government has designed for addressing urban informality issue and how they frame urban informality issues and the solutions to manage the same. Our analysis shows that although government policies are rhetorically inclusive and progressive, indicating a desire to resolve informality issues, policies issued by different ministries and departments are disconnected. We also find that the practices often contradict the policies, and attempts to secure transitions to formality are undermined by a failure to recognise the legitimate stake that informal settlers have in the process. We conclude by discussing how these contradictions and inconsistencies can potentially be redirected towards socially just urban transition and suggesting ways forward for addressing the protracted urban informality issue in Nepal

    Which community, whose resilience? Critical reflections on community resilience in peri-urban Kathmandu Valley

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    Development policy and practice is replete with assumptions that local ‚Äúcommunities‚ÄĚ have both the willingness and capability to adapt to socio-environmental changes and become ‚Äúresilient‚ÄĚ to multiple old and new challenges. This paper analyzes socio-environmental change processes in a dynamic peri-urban context in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, and argues that unequal power relations between diverse actors and their differing interests refute notions of ‚Äúcollective action‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúcommunity resilience.‚ÄĚ Residents of peri-urban communities are diverse, have varying abilities and interests, and use different strategies and actions in response to complex socio-environmental changes. These differences reduce insecurities for some while reproducing inequalities for others. These interrelations at the local level are driven by wider socio-economic, political, and institutional processes that transcend community boundaries, interests, and benefits. In the face of these complexities, ‚Äúcommunity resilience‚ÄĚ is an unviable, externally defined, and engineered goal, often at odds with the power discrepancies and heterogeneity found within actual communities. These findings suggest a need to pay attention to the social, economic, and political dynamics of socio-environmental changes that simultaneously shape local communities and their members‚Äô abilities to respond to changes at various scales.</p

    Urbanizing flows : growing water insecurity in peri-urban Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

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    Kathmandu Valley, where Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is located, is among the fastest-growing urban agglomerations in South-Asia. Rapid urbanization has resulted in rising competition for peri-urban water, and increased peri-urban water insecurity and related conflicts in this rapidly urbanizing valley. However, these issues of increasing peri-urban water insecurity, how diverse actors in the peri-urban context experience and deal with these changes, and how these changes affect social relations and the ‚Äúresilience‚ÄĚ of communities in the increasingly diverse and dynamic peri-urban spaces have received little attention, both in academic and policy-oriented studies. Taking a multi-sited ethnographic case study approach, this study contributes to a better understanding of processes, mechanisms and consequences of peri-urbanization, their differential impacts on water access, water rights, and water security of various actors, how these changes co-produce conflicts and cooperation, perpetuate insecurities, exclusion, and inequalities and what these processes of and responses to socio-environmental changes mean for ‚Äúcommunity resilience‚ÄĚ.</p

    From Royal Canal to Neglected Canal? Changing Use and Management of a Traditional Canal Irrigation System in Peri-Urban Kathmandu Valley

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    In this chapter we discuss the changing uses and management of a traditional canal irrigation system against the background of processes of urbanization in Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Until urbanization of Kathmandu Valley took off in the 1980s, the management of stream-fed canal irrigation systems had been a priority of both state agencies and the population that depended on agriculture-based livelihoods. The name rajkulo (royal canal) given to these systems expresses the historical interests of (royal) state actors in canal maintenance and management. Fed by a stream called Mahadev Khola in Dadhikot, a peri-urban village in Kathmandu Valley, Mahadev Khola Rajkulo is such a traditional canal irrigation system. Using an in-depth case study of this system, we analyse the interlinkages of demographic, socio-environmental, economic and local political dynamics with the changing canal uses and management. More specifically, we discuss how and why various actors became associated with, or dissociated from, canal use and management in recent times, and what these processes mean for water access, rights and security. We reflect on the implications of these changes for canal management and canal-related conflicts, against the background of national urban policies that formally aim to conserve agricultural land in Kathmandu Valley, but stimulate urban expansion in practice

    Trend of urban growth in Nepal with a focus in Kathmandu Valley: A review of processes and drivers of change

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    This report documents and discusses the urbanization trend, spatial transition, major drivers of urban change, and existing institutional mechanisms of urban development in Nepal , one of the top ten fastest urbanizing countries in the world. Particularly, it reflects on the gaps and challenges for urban governance in Nepal and focuses on Kathmandu Valley, the ‚Äúhub‚ÄĚ of urbanization in Nepal. The urban population growth rate in Nepal almost doubled from 3.6% in 1991 to 6.5% in 2001, and the number of urban centers increased from 58 in 2013 to 293 in 2017. The review shows the transition of Nepal from predominantly rural to an emerging urban economy is primarily the result of the governmental decisions that merged rural administrative units and designated them as municipalities, administratively the urban units of Nepal. Rural to urban migration is another important factor driving urban growth in Nepal. Unplanned land use, shrinking open spaces, haphazard construction, and poor services have become major urban features of Nepal, which resemble the growth of Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley, with an estimated population of 2.54 million, is growing at 6.5% per year, indicating one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in South Asia. Haphazard and unplanned urbanization of the valley have degraded the urban environment, increased urban poverty, and exposed the growing urban population to multi-hazard risk. Aiming to balance urban development, develop disaster-resilient cities and enhance urban resilience, the government has formulated the urban development strategy and declared new programs for the development of emerging urban centers and ‚Äúsmart‚ÄĚ cities in the valley. However, such centrallyplanned infrastructure development activities lack coordination and contradict the formal policy intentions, and are facing resistances in some places, rendering their implementation uncertain. The majority of the urban population lacks resiliency and the government lacks institutional and financial capacities and coordination crucial for undertaking inclusive, equitable, and resilient urban development. The current constitutional provision that restrains the government from imposing any kind of restriction on the use of private property has come up as an additional impediment to urban governance in Nepal and thus making urban areas increasingly disasterprone and the urban population, primarily the urban poor, vulnerable to multiple hazards. Kathmandu Valley has become an evidence of these processes and their ramifications. The report has concluded by providing key insights that can be useful in making tomorrow‚Äôs cities inclusive, equitable, and resilient
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