Exchanging Power: Prospects of Nepal-India Cooperation for Hydropower Development
Keck Journal of Foreign Affairs, Forthcoming
6 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2012
Date Written: October 28, 2012
Between summer monsoons and Himalayan snowmelt, Nepal is endowed with an abundance of freshwater resources. Just as Nepal’s rivers have carved the gorges of the world’s highest mountain range, these rivers carve international politics within the region. More than 200 billion cubic meters of water crosses the Indo-Nepal border each year, feeding into the Ganges watershed. The benefits derived from water management include hydropower, irrigation, and flood control to name a few; hence the "multipurpose" namesake attributed to a series of water development projects. The political geology of any river intervention divides stakeholders into "upstream" and "downstream" beneficiaries. In the case of trans-boundary rivers, these two categories of stakeholders are applied among separate nations. The management of such rivers is negotiated through bilateral treaties, thus carrying implications on national sovereignty. The purpose of this paper is to examine several challenges of bilateral hydropower development. Although multipurpose projects promise an array of benefits, the prospect of hydropower is what attracts these two countries to engage in bilateral water agreements.
Keywords: Nepal, India, Hydropower, Electricity, Bilateral, Laos, Mekong, Paraguay, Brazil, Transboundary, Rivers
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