Resilient Irrigation Conveyance

Traditional method of irrigation canal construction with limited resources resulted mainly in earthen canals which faced huge risks due to cracks and landslides after earthquake. Most of the irrigation canals in Melamchi Municipality and Helmabu Rural Municipality were damaged due to 2015 earthquake and farmers were stranded for the immediate cropping season leaving the agriculture fields barren. This increased food insecurity while stored grains were already destroyed in the earthquake aggravating the situation of vulnerable farmers. Irrigation canals constructed through forest and steep slopes were very vulnerable, causing seepage and topple of canal walls in many sections. This also increased risks to communities who need to travel into the forest to gather fodder, firewood and access water mills and mostly children travelling long hours for school.
Recovery of Agricultural Livelihoods (ReAL) project is engaged in reconstruction of Irrigation systems affected by the earthquake in the Helambu Rural Municipality and Melamchi Municipality of Sindhupalchok district. The objective of the reconstruction project is to build resilient infrastructure such as Water Mills and also provide agriculture livelihood services so that farmers will be able to build their resilience.. Recently built Thulo kulo irrigation canal in Ichok (Helambu- 07) have been managing the conveyance for irrigation water by checking seepage, leakage and reducing landslides as well. This will benefit the farmers in many ways by reducing losses along the canal alignment, thus increasing the On-farm irrigation efficiency. Also, this will result in an increase in irrigated land due to proper structures in place.
Thulo Kulo Irrigation scheme in Ichok has covered a total of 69-hectare of agriculture land area serving the irrigation facility to 173 farming households. With the reconstruction, cropping intensity is expected to be increased from existing 150% to 250% with a possible crop cycle of Paddy-wheat-pulses-vegetables every year.
Chanamati Karki, Member of Thulo Kulo user committee expressed her happiness as "We were hopeless after earthquake and thought we would not be able to repair our irrigation, but now it seems much better, we have less to worry about frequent damages and repairing, and can cultivate more in same agriculture fields".
She has also mentioned, "We are able to distribute water properly to the farmers and conflicts embedded with sharing of water resources have significantly been reduced". The provision of "Operation and Maintenance fund and a trained caretaker are the key drivers to keep the scheme functional which is the best thing after the reconstruction" she has added.
Currently, she is engaged in vegetable farming with which she expects to increase her income in coming days.
Women travelling through the forest for fodder and firewood collection are happy to find a convenient trail in place along the irrigation canal which used to be slippery slopes and inaccessible during the rainy season.