Nepal is NOT the second richest country in water resource

Second Richest Country in Water Resource

Nepal is the second richest country in water resource in world after Brazil. These are probably the exact words that we were taught in school. And every time someone talks about growing loadshedding in Nepal, we throw away this line. But how many times we have really think about this line? Is it the real truth? On childhood, it seems obviously correct, given that we didn’t have much way to gather information and had to believe whether on text books or teachers. Today, let’s revisit this myth.

“Jalshrot ko doshro dhani desh Nepal taipani loadshedding hunca” — This is the frequently used line in every gatherings and talk among Nepali people. We talk about how inefficient politicians are not utilizing the full potential of water resource in Nepal. Talking about politics is beyond the scope of this scope, but we can help you to know actual truth behind line.

How it all started?

We all know this since childhood. Nepal is the second richest country in water resource. I mean it’s everywhere. Every book, newspaper, journals in Nepal probably include this. We probably got this from our text books in school. Even if you search internet, reputed sources from Nepal try to sell this line.

Tribhuwan University, the largest university of Nepal, has a paper with the same exact line I mentioned. TU had published the paper to call participation for conference of Global University Network where the above lines are mentioned to introduce Nepal.

Is Nepal really the second richest country in water resource?

Short Answer: NO. I know we all have big rivers and mountains in Nepal but if we look deeply at the size of Nepal, it becomes clear. We all know our rivers run to India, plus they have other rivers which originate in India itself, doesn’t that make India even more richer than Nepal? Think for a while, you probably already know the answer.

Second Richest Country in Water Resource

The first position doesn’t even belong to Brazil, it’s Russia. Nepal is in 41st position which is obivosuly far below than 2nd position, right? In fact, Nepal is NOT the richest country in water resource in Asia, not even South Asia. Other Asian countries like China, India and Bangladesh are more richer than Nepal in water resource.

Okay, then

Nepal is second richest country in renewable (fresh) water resource, right?

NO. Just look at the below figures. We do have a lot of rivers and mountains and all the water from Nepal goes to India. That should make India more richer than us, isn’t it? Also the size of Nepal is way to small considering other big countries with rivers larger than Nepals’.

Let’s look at data.

Top Countries by fresh water resource:

Fresh water resource data

Source: FAO – World Water Resource by Country

Top Countries by Total Renewable Water Resource

SN Country Water Resource (cu km) D.O.I
1 Brazil 8, 233 2011
2 Russia 4,508 2011
5 China 2,840 2011
9 India 1,911 2011
12 Bangladesh 1,227 2011
43 Nepal 210.2 2011

Source: Wikipedia: Total Renewable Water Resource by Country

This data makes clear that even in renewable water resource, Nepal is NOT the second richest country in world. This makes clear why we are having more and more strong relation with loadshedding.

Not all, people are blindfolded by this illusion. We came across this thoughtful blog on internet explaining the Nepal’s water and hydropower resource.

Good News! We are still second somewhere 😉

Nepal is actually second richest country in inland water resource

With more than 6,000 rivers and rivulets, Nepal is the second richest country in inland water resource. They total about 45,000 km in length according to HIDCL. That means we have good amount of inland water resource most of which flow from mountains making it suitable for hydropower generation.

Source: Nepal Hydropower Overview

Do you still think Nepal is second richest country in water resource in world after Brazil?  Let us know in the comments below.