USAID Karnali Water Activity (A $24.79 million five-year project) Lauched

Kathmandu : The USAID Karnali Water Activity has been launched. In an event organized at the Everest Hotel, New Baneshwor, with the Water Supply Ministry Secretary, Pramila Devi Shakya Bajracharya as the chief guest, the project was launched.

The Karnali Water Activity will be a five-year project, spanning from July 14 2021 to July 14, 2026. The $24.79 million activity is implemented by DAI Global, LLC (DAI).

The activity will be located within the Karnali River Basin, which extends over Provinces 5, 6, and 7, including Mugu (Rara Watershed), Jumla, Kalikot (Tila Watershed), Achham, Dailekh (Middle Karnali Watershed), Kailali, Bardia, and Surkhet (Lower Watershed).

This multi-sectoral programming will strengthen Nepal’s federal, provincial, and local governments to effectively manage limited water resources, and provide safe water and sanitation services to the Nepali people.

Deputy Chief of Party, Mr. Kabir Das Rajbhandari started the event with a speech by welcoming everybody present at the event and then introducing the team for the Karnali Water Activity.

Chief of Party, Ms. Nilu P. Basnyat proceeded with the program by giving an introduction of the Karnali Water Activity.



Freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource that is essential to sustaining life, development, and protecting the environment. By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of freshwater. Water stress due to scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively affect public health, food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. An integrated approach is necessary to address these challenges and to ensure sustainable and safe water access for more resilient societies.


The USAID Karnali Water Activity focuses on increasing access to safely managed water and sanitation services while linking strategically to productive uses of water and upstream water resources management for well-protected and managed water catchment. The Activity is designed to help each watershed and community to reflect upon and articulate its current and unique water status and a way forward for sustainable water availability. The activity will use a “One Water”, holistic, systems-wide approach that integrates water resource management with a water supply and sanitation service quantity, quality, and equity to achieve water sustainability.


The USAID Karnali Water Activity will deliver a system that produces:


♦ Safely managed drinking water, rehabilitated multiple-use water systems (MUSs), and strengthened municipalities and water users and sanitation committees (WUSC) that effectively plan, manage, and sustain systems.

♦ Sustainable, safely managed fecal sludge management (FSM) services, connected to viable fecal sludge treatment plans, with circular economy options from fecal waste stream use.

♦ Local government and community actors with the legal mandate, partnerships, and capacity to deliver sustainable WSS services and to manage water resources equitably.

♦ Well-protected and well-managed water catchment areas that ensure ecological flows for sustainable water services.

♦ The activity will be located within the Karnali River Basin, which extends over Provinces 5, 6, and 7, including Mugu (Rara Watershed), Jumla, Kalikot (Tila Watershed), Achham, Dailekh (Middle Karnali Watershed), Kailali, Bardia, and Surkhet (Lower Watershed). The five-year, $24.79 million activity (July 15, 2021 – July 14, 2026) is implemented by DAI Global, LLC (DAI).

USAID Karnali Water Activity’s Deputy Chief of Party Mr. Kabir Das Rajbhandari elaborating on the objectives of the USAID Karnali Water Activity


Purpose: To create healthy, resilient, and water-secure communities at the watershed level.

Objectives: The Karnali Water Activity has four interrelated objectives and an additional contingency objective, which may be activated in the event of the onset of any major disaster:

Objective 1: Increased sustainable access to safe drinking water and water for produces;

Objective 2: Increased sustainable access to and use of safely managed sanitation through fecal sludge management;

Objective 3: Strengthened government and sustainable resilient management of water resources;

Objective 4: Strengthened conservation of watersheds and biodiversity; and

Objective 5: Supplement Assistance to link disaster response and recovery activities with support for sustained improvements in water and sanitation service delivery.



By the end of July 2026, the USAID Karnali Activity plans to have achieved the following major outcomes:

• Mapping and assessment of all water infrastructure and water source assets in targeted municipalities using pre-existing WASH plans, WASH Management Information System (MIS) data.

•  All local governments with updated WASH Plans, Water Use Master Plan, and a system to report to GON’s MIS system.

• 270 community-based safe drinking water supply systems constructed including rehabilitation/reconstruction of non-fictional schemes, upgrading existing water supply infrastructure, and construction of new schemes which serve households, health facilities, and schools.

• 50 multiple uses of water systems I.e., a water reservoir serving both drinking and small-scale irrigation distribution constructed, targeting vulnerable populations.

• Good agricultural, soil, and water management practices that conserve water and increase productive productivity.

• 12 Citywide Sanitation Plans.

• Six Fecal Sludge Treatment Plans (FSTPs) constructed along with Standard Operating Plans.

• 10 FSTP Business Plans (6 for constructed FSTPs under this activity and 4 for other FSTPs).

• 100 well-protected and managed water catchment areas that ensure ecological flows for sustainable water services and biodiversity.

• Amendments, additional policies, or regulations required to improve watershed planning and management within the few federal systems prepared and implemented at provincial or municipal levels.

    • Ms. Nilu P. Basnyat further explained the activity and closed off the event by taking questions from the participants.





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