2017 – Nagmati Dam – A Project of Environmental and Cultural Significance

Richard Herweynen, Suraj Neupane, Paul Southcott and Ashish B. Khanal

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is home to more than five million people. Three major rivers including the Bagmati run through the city of Kathmandu, providing the environmental and cultural lifelines for the civilisation and local people. High population growth in Kathmandu over the past 30years has put a serious environmental strain on the Bagmati River. Water is drawn from the Bagmati River for drinking, farming, industries and construction. Due to the lack of capacity in the current sewerage systems, untreated sewage is entering the river system, along with high quantities of rubbish. Although a holy river, the Bagmati River is highly degraded, with reduced flows, high pollution, and a fresh water ecosystem that is now destroyed.To revive the Bagmati River, the Government of Nepal with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is undertaking the Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project (BRBIP). One of the sub-projects is the construction of a dam on the Nagmati River to store water during the monsoon period for environmental release during dry season.Since November 2015, Entura have been involved in the investigation and detailed design of the Nagmati Dam. Through a simple storage model, it was determined that 8.2Mm 3 of live storage was required to meet the environmental flow objectives. To achieve this storage a 95m high dam was required at the Nagmati site, with a concrete faced rockfill dam (CFRD) determined to be the best option.This paper will present the development of this unique project, highlighting how a number of the challenges were addressed, leading to a sustainable project.

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