Environmental, Social and Cumulative Impact Assessment for Hydropower Development in Nepal

ESSA was hired to advise a hydropower project team in Nepal on the best approach to ensure the project is designed and built in compliance with international environmental and social standards.

Project Details

Trishuli watershed, Nepal; 28° 08’ 35.45’’, 84° 55’ 07.17’’
Nepal Water & Energy Development Company Private Limited
2013 – 2015
Team Member(s):
Patricia de la Cueva-Bueno, Lorne Greig, Don Robinson
Practice Area(s):
EA / CEA, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, Adaptive Management
Services Employed:
Statistical Design & Analysis, GIS Analysis & Information Systems, Monitoring Design & Evaluation

The Problem We Aimed to Solve

Located in a rapidly developing watershed, the Upper Trishuli-1 hydro project is a proposed 216 MW run-of-the-river hydropower facility. Although preliminary environmental studies were completed, proposed financing from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) meant that the Project would need to meet international environmental and social standards.

How We Helped

ESSA was hired to assess compliance with IFC Performance Standards and provide recommendations for strengthening overall environmental and social risk management on the project. In particular, ESSA: (1) conducted a gap analysis of the current environment and social impact assessment (ESIA) against international standards; (2) completed additional environmental and social baseline studies in collaboration with a local firm;  (3) calculated the minimum ecological flow requirements for the diversion reach of the facility; (4) conducted GIS mapping and spatial analysis of vulnerability indicators; (5) completed a cumulative impact assessment for the basin; (6) developed an environmental management plan for construction; and (7) upgraded the ESIA to international standards.

Our Project’s Impacts

A robust supplemental ESIA addressing the main gaps for compliance with international standards and providing guidance to the developer for managing environmental and social risks during the construction and operation phases.

No additional resources available at this time.