22 January 2016


Study of “Piluwakhola and its Uses” under the water resource.

By: Pramod Bhattarai


Background Nepal is a landlocked country with the area of 147181 Km2. It is the agricultural country and hence the main occupation of the Nepalese people is farming. About 80% of the people are engaged in the agriculture directly or indirectly. Nepal is the second largest country in water resources in the world. Rivers, lakes, ponds, frozen water, small streams, etc. are the main sources of water. More than 6,000 rivers flow from north to south including big and small rivers like, Kshi, Karnali, Gandaki, Arun, Trishuli, Mahakali and other many. Rara Tal, Phewa Tal, Begnash Tal, Savapokhari, are also the big water resources. In the mountain area water is in the frozen condition which is melted in the summer season. So, in totality we can say that there are huge sources of water in Nepal.

Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful to humans. Water is essential for all forms of life, and this is no different for people. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water. 88.7% of water on the Earth is salt water, and over two thirds of fresh water is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps, leaving only 0.9% available for human use. Fresh water is a renewable resource, yet the world's supply of clean, fresh water is steadily decreasing. Water demand already exceeds supply in many parts of the world, and as world population continues to rise at an unprecedented and unsustainable rate, many more areas are expected to experience this imbalance in the near future.

This research is based on the river named “Piluwakhola” under the water resources. This river started from Nundhaki and end in thre Arun River. Uses of this river and what kind of problems to faced are also analyzed. Possibilities of other kinds of uses are also studies and its management also studies in this field study.

 Objectives of the study The main objective of the study is to find out the uses of this river, its negative impact and its management. The other objectives of the study can be listed as below:
 To find out the uses of river.
To find out what kind of problems faced the local people who live in the bank of the river.
To identify the possibilities of hydropower and fishing.

Literature review Any of the entire range of natural waters (vapor, liquid, or solid) that occur on the Earth and that are of potential use to humans. These resources include the waters of the oceans, rivers, and lakes; groundwater and deep subsurface waters; and glaciers and permanent snowfields. Continuing increase in water use has led to growing concern over the availability and quality of water supplies. Many abstracts are studied by internet, books and other journals about the water resources. Studying about the hydropower, irrigation, drinking water, fishing is difficult without the help of different writers’ like Harka Gurung, Pushkar K. Pradhan.

Limitations of the study Some of the problems that causes the study hard and to receive the achievement to the proper extent are listed below:
The climatic problem (in rainy season)
 Lack of proper road.
 Illiteracy in the people made the collection of information hard.
 Negative response from the people in some places.

METHODOLOGY The study of Piluwakhola based on the field study. For the proper collection of the data and information, the questionnaire in the form of table was prepared and the information collected from the local people was filled up in the tabular form. After the collection of the information the final report was prepared. The steps during the study can be represented as:

Questionnaire Open questionnaire was operated to generate the realist and accurate data from the benefited local people. The respondents were fulfilling the questionnaire to achieve the required data.

Selection of the samples The whole area under the study was initially surveyed by the help of the local people for collection of the information properly. Simple random sampling method is used in the study area.

Data collection To generate the primary data, the structured questionnaire, semi or unstructured interviews and field observation as well as local group discussion method was applied. And secondary data was collected from internet, books, journals, newspapers, magazine, NGOs, VDCs, and governmental resources. These secondary information were helpful to crosscheck the validity and reliability of empirical data.

Analysis of data All the data and information collected from the respondents study area help of the questionnaire was analyzed by the group discussion among the group members and then finally presented in this report.

Site selection
Under the water resources “Piluwakhola” is the selection of this study. The origin of this river is “Nundhaki” one of the place of Sankhuwasava district. As a tributary of Arun River if flows in the mid of the district touching 9 (Nundhaki, Mawadin Siddhakali, Madi Rambani, Chainpur, Baneshwor, Kharang, Mamling and Ankhibhuin) VDCs. This is one of the fast running river among the other rivers of the district. Around 100 Km long this river is the very beautiful one, which in is seen form the different parts of VDC.

 In the origin place it is very small, but with the combination of different small streams this river is going bigger and bigger. In the winter season the river is very small but in the rainy season this river became a big flood. Different types of botanical diversity are found in the base of this river. Different types of fish like Sidra, Rahu, are also found in this river. There is the maximum possibility of hydro energy, irrigation in this river. This river is very useful for the local people for their daily life cycle and for better employment. But now a day this river is going to be polluted due to the compact settlement in the bank of this river.

Uses of the river (Piluwakhola)
Rivers are very useful is different sector like for drinking, industrial, irrigation, for hydro energy, water mills and so on. Like these many local people of Sankhuwasava district use “Piluwakhola” for different purposes. During the one month of the study with the help of local people and corresponding VDCs office I found, different uses of Piluwakhola.

Hydropower Electricity is the one of the basic element of human life. Through the hydropower the demand of electricity is fulfilled. So, from the Piluwakhola the hydropower named “Piluwakhola Hydropower, (3MW)” was constructed.
 Arun Valley Hydropower Development Company has constructed and operating Piluwakhola Hydropower Project at Sankhuwasava District in Koshi Zone. This is a Run of River type project located on Piluwakhola, a tributary of Arun River. It has an installed capacity of 3MW and generates 19.55GWh energy per annum. The power purchase agreement with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) was completed in 2000. The construction of this project was started in March 2000 and completed in August 2003. The plant started commercial operation from 18 September 2003. The energy generated from this project has been sold to NEA at a cheaper price. The construction of this project has helped to minimize the transmission losses and improve the voltage in the system.

The Feature of Hydropower Project
  • Unit cost of the power generation of this project is about US$ 1,451 per kW, which is one of the cheapest projects in Nepal. The benefits cost ratio (BC Ratio) and internal rate of return (IRR) of this project are 1.74 and 22.8 respectively.
·         The project has used the latest 21st century technology. The machines installed in the project are imported from WKV (Wasserkraft Volk AG), Germany. There are two units of Turgo impulse turbine and generators. The powerhouse is automatically operated parallel with the 33kV national grid.
Salient Features of hydropower

Installed Capacity
3.0 MW
Design Discharge
3.5 m3/sec
Gross Head
112.5 meters
Annual Energy Generation
19.547 GWh
Construction Period
36 months
Total Project Cost
NRs. 326.4 million
Cost Per Kilowatt
US$ 1451 Per KW (1 US $ =NRs.75)

Through this hydropower many local people are benefited in Sankhuwasava district. This electricity is distributed in many VDCs of the district from 2 years. Many local people are employed, some work in intake and some work in terminal house from this hydropower.

Irrigation The artificial application of water to the soil to produce plant growth. Irrigation also cools the soil and atmosphere, making the environment favorable for plant growth. Water is applied to crops by surface, subsurface, sprinkler, and drip irrigation.

Many people use Piluwakhola for irrigation in the boarder side (Bashin) of the river. Rice is the main production in this place. There is not enough water resources for irrigation so, Piluwakhola is the ultimate source of irrigation. Around 20,000 ropani land is depends upon Piluwakhola for irrigation. Some local people says that, water of Piluwakhola is more fertile than other water, so the productivity also high. More than 1,000 are directly benefited by using the water of Piluwakhola.

 Drinking Water Drinking water is water that is intended to be ingested by humans. Water of sufficient quality to serve as drinking water is termed potable water whether it is used as such or not. Although many sources are utilized by humans, some contain disease vectors or pathogens and cause long-term health problems if they do not meet certain water quality guidelines. Water that is not harmful for human beings is sometimes called safe water, water which is not contaminated to the extent of being unhealthy. The available supply of drinking water is an important criterion of carrying capacity, the population level that can be supported by planet Earth.

Drinking water in important for people to survive. As a rural country many people facing scarcity of pure drinking water. People spend 2/3 hours for a pot of drinking water in rural sites. Similarly, many people of Sankhuwasava depend on river for the drinking water. Likewise, local people who say in bank of Piluwakhola compulsorily use Piluwakhola for drinking water. There is not any alternative source of drinking water rather then this river. The risk of this water also very high because the river is going to polluted. So, Piluwakhola is uses for drinking water.

Water mill (Panighatta) Throughout the Himalayas, much of the remote population uses water-powered mills on a seasonal basis to grind wheat, corn, millet, and other grains into flour. It is estimated that there are 25,000 water mills operating in Nepal (referred to as ghattas), over 200,000 in India (referred to as gharats or panchakis), and many more in the mountainous regions of China, Pakistan, and Turkey. Each traditional mill has a power output of 200 to 500 W.
Water mill (Panighatta) is the indigenous technology for grinding different types of crops. It is very easier and low cost technology because it does not use fuel and electricity, it is formulating by the water. There is also a water mill in Mamling VDC, which is still working bye water of Piluwakhola. More than 200 household use this Water Mill for grinding rice, maze, wheat, millet and other corps. But now a day, mane modern technology replaced all these machines.  From this many people lose their job and again start struggle for eating.

 Fishing Another uses of Piluwakhola for fishing, basically Majhis are used to fishing daily. By the use of net, hook they catch fish and sell them in the market (Chainpur). There are different types of fish like Sidra, Ashala, Rahu found in Piluwakhola. Many local people have better income and sped better lifestyle by fishing. Some people used blasting to kill the fish which create big problems for other small fish (Bhura). If there is better technology for fishing, it is very easy and time consuming for the local people. There is also the problem of market, but now the road connection spread in many place of the district.

Challenges and the obstacles for using this river
As fast track river it flows with strong current. It creates different types of problems and challenges to use this river. In the summer season, this river changes in it to big flood. It destroys many fertile land and soil. Problems of flood, soil erosion, it create difficulty for using the water of this river. Due to the strong rocky place it is very hard to dig out for the use of irrigation. Sometimes this river destroys the bridges, water mill, irrigation system and faced difficulties by the local people.

 Flood creates big problems in the lifecycle of fish of Piluwakhola. From the big flood bring a lot of sand; by this sand many fish lose their life. Flood also creates problems in hydropower system and drinking water. So it is very challenge to proper use of Piluwakhola in any purpose because it is located in hilly reason with the strong rocks. Socio-cultural factors also the obstacles to use this river. So, it is very challenge full to launched successful Piluwakhola based programs.

Management of Piluwakhola
As a big source of water, Piluwakhola is very important for different uses. But, lack of proper management it creates big problems. Not any government and private sector give time for its management. It destroys many fertile lands in the rainy season so, local people faced more poorness. Some local people use their indigenous technology to control this river in rainy season. If government and private agencies used to mange this river it is very fruitful for the people of this area.

After the field study, it was concluded that the uses of Piluwakhola is not at much as its possibilities. There many ways to use this river for increasing living stranded on the local people. There is not any national level of programs launch to use the river. From the private sector some programs and projects are launch like hydropower, irrigation and other. After the study of his river I found that the possibilities are very high. For the different purpose like hydropower, irrigation, drinking water, fishing, water mill system is very high. Now Piluwakhola 1st and Piluwakhola 2nd hydropower plant also going to construction in this river. Not only this, there is the possibilities of more than 10 hydropower systems.

Another possibility is fishing because Piluwakhola is very suitable for fish production. Due to the road connection the market also very high so, many people export fish in Hile, Dhakuta, Dharan and Biratnagar. If extend this program around the Piluwakhola, the income of local people is high and the ratio of poverty also decreased. Many people don’t use this river for irrigation because of different problems. If government focused on this river for irrigation many people are beneficiated and production also high.

 As a water resource, Piluwakhola is one of the important source of water for the local people of Sankhuwasava. By using this river many local people in the sector of irrigation agricultural is high and has the greater scope for raising the living standard of the people. Geographical feature of this river is very complex so, it is very default for better irrigation. At last we can say that, socio-cultural factor plays a vital role for using the river. Economic factor is also studies for the use of Piluwakhola because most of the people of this area are under poverty so; they can’t use this river as their interest. Many institutional organizations are engaged for using the Piluwakhola in various sectors. The government should pay some attention towards the welfare of the people making some strong plans and policies by using the Piluwakhola.


ASD (1998). Statistical Information on Nepalese Agriculture. Kathmandu: Agricultural Statistical Division. Ministry of Agriculture.

Chainpur VDC. (2008). District Profile of Sankhuwasava.

Pradhan, P.K. and Pradhan, B. (2006). Environment and Natural Resources: concepts, Methods, Planning and Management. Kathmandu: Quest Publication.

Siddhakali VDC. (2008). District Profile of Sankhuwasava.