Water Resource Economics

Peer Reviewed Publications

Pakhtigian, E. L., Jeuland, M., Bharati, L., and Pandey, V. (In press). The role of hydropower in visions of water resources development for rivers of Western Nepal. International Journal of Water Resources Development. (DOI Link)

Abstract: Water resources can play significant roles in development pathways for water-endowed, low-income countries like Nepal. This paper describes three visions for water resource development in the Karnali and Mahakali Basins of Western Nepal: (i) state-led development, (ii) demand-driven development, and (iii) preservation of ecosystem integrity. The analysis calls attention to water use trade-offs, including those resulting from national priorities such as infrastructure-based hydropower and irrigation, from local drinking water demand, and from environmental conservation concerns. While these visions of water resources development do diverge, common trends appear, including acknowledgment of water management’s role in expanding energy access and increasing agricultural productivity.      

Work in Progress

Pakhtigian, E. L. and Jeuland, M. Balancing intersectoral demands in basin-scale planning: The case of Nepal's western river basins.

Abstract: Basin-wide planning requires tools and strategies that allow comparison of alternative pathways and priorities at relevant spatial and temporal scales. In this paper, we apply a hydroeconomic model--the Western Nepal Energy Water Model--that better accounts for feedbacks between water and energy markets, to optimize water allocations across energy, agriculture, municipal, and environmental sectors. The model maximizes total economic benefits, accounting for trade-offs both within and across sectors. In Western Nepal, we find that surface water availability is generally sufficient to meet existing and growing demands in energy and agricultural sectors; however, expansion of water storage and irrigation infrastructure may limit environmental flows below levels needed to maintain the full integrity of important aquatic ecosystems. We also find substantial trade-offs between irrigation in Nepal and satisfaction of the institutional requirements implied by international water-use agreements with the downstream riparian India. Similar trade-offs do not exist with hydropower, however. Model results and allocations are sensitive to future domestic and international energy demands and valuations.   

Bekchanov, M., Pakhtigian, E. L., Sood, A., and Jeuland M. Hydro-economic modeling framework to address water-energy-environment-food nexus questions at the river basin scale.