Restoring and improving traditional Naulas and spring-sheds

Figure 1 Traditional Naula (left) and improved Naula (right)

Naulas are traditional water sources within the villages in the Hills of Nepal. Naulas provide drinking water around the year but the discharge drops to less than 0.01 liter per second during the dry season and eventually dries up completely during droughts.


Naulas are fed by groundwater (sub-surface flow) from small local catchments: the so-called ‘spring-shed’. Rainwater infiltrates in the soil until it is blocked by an impermeable layer. The water accumulates in a kind of local aquifer that functions as an underground reservoir. The water flows slowly down to the point of the source.


In the case study (link Improving water supply from rain-fed “traditional naulas. A novel climate-smart experience from the Far West, Nepal ”) Mr Shrestha the Technical Apecialist at RVWRMP describes the measures implemented to improve the water quantity and water quality of a typical traditional Naulo. Recharge, Retain and Re-use (3R) measures make the water supply more resilient in the face of climate change (link powerpoint presentation presented at the RWH conference in 2019)


The Naula water points and ‘spring-sheds’ suffer from land degradation and contamination. Lately, they also suffer from the heavy machinery that is used for road construction. It has been reported in several cases that the movement of excavators for the construction of the local roads has disturbed the underground water flow from spring-sheds to the Naulas.


Protecting, restoring and improving the traditional Naulas and spring-sheds is an important alternative to provide households with drinking water since the mountain streams and other water sources are often far away from the human settlements. These schemes need expensive infrastructure while under continuous risks of landslides along the pipeline. Another problem is that these sources often lie in the territory of another villages that are not always willing to share the water.

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