Abstract

The main objective of this paper is to assess the water crisis in Nepal by conducting a series of case studies in rural watersheds in the mid-hills. This was achieved through the applied qualitative method, especially combinations of desk study/structured searches, consultation, and field observation. The ground survey revealed that most of the rural communities in the mid-hills have an unreliable water supply. According to the local stakeholders, 20–25% of water resources have dried up as compared to 20 years ago. Drying up of water resources disproportionately affects women and girls in rural areas as women are responsible for household chores, including fetching drinking water. The findings also revealed that low-income households bear a disproportionate coping burden as compared to elite groups, as they often engage in coping strategies such as collecting water from distant water sources, which is labor- and time-intensive, and also yields smaller quantities of water. Assuming that unreliable water supplies will continue to exist in rural areas of the mid-hills for the foreseeable future, there is a critical need to consider which, if any, coping strategies will be most effective in ensuring that poor households will have access to safe and sufficient water supply.

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