Climate change induced water conflict in the Himalayas : A case study from Mustang, Nepal

Authors Bhusal, J.; Subedi, B.
Year of Publication 2014
Type of Publication Journal Article
Journal Ecopersia
Volume 2
Pagination 585 - 595
Open Access No

Abstract

Water has remained at the centre of human livelihoods from the beginning of civilization. Civilization enriched mostly on the fertile plains and river valleys. In time, people began migrating to highland slopes where there was easy access to water. Two villages in the Mustang region of Nepal were considered for research to drill into the causes of conflicts on water rights and shares. Peoples' perceptions, traditional practices and field evidences from those two villages were collected and analyzed. No evidence was found of conflicts concerning water access and rights between the two villages over a long period of time (until 200 to 300 years previously). When the natural hydrological process derailed, however, people felt the effects of decreasing agriculrual output and pasture due to scarce water. Worsening livelihoods reflected the conflicts over water in the area. Communities were not only demanding greater portions of water shares but were also  claiming exclusive right over water sources. The inherent cause of the conflict was attributed to climate change, which appeared through drying springs and changing nature of hydrological cycles.