Together We Stand for Sustainable Lifestyles

Graduates’ Course on Surface Water and Groundwater Interaction in Kathmandu

4th December 2016

The Small Earth Nepal (SEN) hosted a Graduate’s Course on Surface Water – Ground Water Interaction: From Watershed Processes to Hyporheic Exchange that was organized in Kathmandu from 13 to 19 November 2016. SEN partnered in this capacity building effort together with the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, University of Calgary, Canada and United States Geological Survey, USA. The course was targeted to the graduate students, young researchers and planers to learn about the basic ideas of surface water, groundwater and their interactions. Twenty seven participants representing academic institutions, research organizations, government agencies and recent graduates attended the course. The course covered basic concepts and theory of groundwater flow, effects of topographical and geological setting on SW-GW interaction, hydrological processes in soils and hill slopes in the context of SW-GW interaction, analysis of base flow sustained by groundwater inputs, exchange processes at water-sediment interfaces in rivers and lakes, field methods for measuring interaction, watershed-scale exchange of groundwater and surface water, water balance of lakes and wetlands, implication of the interaction in water resources management. Students also got some opportunities to work on computer modeling activities. Prof. Masaki Hayashi from University of Calgary and Dr. Donald Rosenberry from United States Geological Survey were the principal instructors and Prof. Narendra Man Shakya and Prof. Suresh Das Shrestha from Tribhuvan University, and Dr. Vishnu Prasad Pandey from International Water Management Institute (IWMI)- Nepal delivered the guest lectures covering the topics of Nepal’s water resource issues and focusing to Kathmandu’s groundwater.


More information of the event and the course materials are available at:


Students presented their research papers, working projects and proposals during the course. The main idea of the students’ presentation was to expose their work among the peers, provide constructive feedback to their research projects and sharpen their communication skills. Nine students were participated in this session. Another exciting part of the training was to take a student and provide research internship at University of Calgary in 2017 summer for two months. Among the 16 applicants to the opportunities, 7 were shortlisted for further evaluation, and the final selection decision will be made by the end of December.


In a breakout session, students discussed on the pressing issues related to water resource in Nepal and how the knowledge from the training could be applied to mitigate the problems. Some of the noted issues raised were water induced hazards (landslide, flood, drought), trans-boundary and policy issues, lack of waste water treatment plants, over extraction of groundwater from major cities, groundwater contamination and water logging problems, sinkhole, encroachment of water bodies by hydrophytes. Lack of data for research activities and poor governance for managing the available water resources were also highlighted by the participants.


One day field excursion was organized in the southern part of the Kathmandu valley to expose the students with real life examples of surface water and ground water interaction and management. They visited the spring spouts, deep wells, groundwater extraction and processing for municipal supply, hydropower plants and its multi-purpose reservoir (electricity and water supply).


Few photographs from the field are at: