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close this bookCase Studies of People's Participation in Watershed Management in Asia (PWMTA, 1996)
close this folderA case study of people's participation in Begnastal and Rupatal (BTRT) watershed management in Nepal
close this folderReview
close this folderOverview of the study area
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentClimate
View the documentVegetation
View the documentLand use
View the documentLivestock
View the documentSocio-economic conditions


The BTRT watershed area is located at about 10 Km east of Pokhara, in the Kaski District of the Western Development Region. In 1985, the Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management initiated a watershed management project in the BTRT watershed area with the cooperation of CARE International. The project aims at improving the lives of the approximately 31,000 people inhabiting in the project area. It covers an area of 173 Km2, including the two major lakes Begnastal and Rupatal and three other minor lakes namely: Khaste, Dipang and Maidi. There are seven Village Development Committees (VDC) in the watershed area, namely: Rakhi, Kalika, Majthana, Begnas, Rupakot, Lekhnath and Hanspur. Two motorable roads link the watershed area to the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway and several foot trails are well established inside the watershed.

The watershed has steep north and south facing slopes of 40°-65° and 35°-400, respectively. The topography determines the demographic distribution. The majority of the population is concentrated on the south-facing slopes suitable for agriculture. North facing slopes are often covered by forests. The watershed altitude varies from 600 m to 1120 m AMSL (K.C. et al, 1987).


The climate is sub-tropical and humid, and is marked by monsoon rainfall. The pre-monsoon period is generally hot and dry, and sometimes there are hailstorms. The average annual rainfall is about 3,580 mm and it occurs mainly from May to September. The mean peak temperature in July and August is 35.5°C but falls to just 13.2°C in January (K.C. et al, 1987).


Vegetation and crop cultivation are largely determined by the climate. Forests are predominantly sub-tropical and wet, although some patches of temperate forests exist at higher altitudes. The predominant species of sub-tropical wet forests are Castanopsis indica, and Schima wallichii, and other species include Engelhardtia spicata, Syzygium cumini, Myrica esculenta and Rhus javanica. Temperate forest species include Quercus glauca, Euraya accuminate, Prunus cerasoides and various species of Rhododendron.

Land use

About 50 % of the land is under cultivation with slightly more cultivation on bari land (rainfed) man on khet land (irrigated). Most terraces are on the south-facing slopes. In fact, terraces on the north-facing slopes are found only at the base of a sloping area. Khet lands are located on low lying areas around lakes and rivers. The cropping patterns are greatly affected by slope, altitude, and irrigation. The main crops are rice, maize, millet, and wheat, but seasonal vegetables are also grown. Fodder trees and grasses are usually maintained at the edges of bari land (K.C. et al, 87).


Raising livestock is an important economic activity in the watershed area. In spite of the time involved in collecting fodder and looking after the livestock and other social costs, raising livestock is profitable. Livestock is also the main source of manure for improving soil fertility and of draft power for ploughing. The availability of forest and water resources encourage the farmers to raise livestock.

Socio-economic conditions

The watershed inhabitants are of many ethnic groups and castes and practice Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Due to economic, social and ecological pressures, the local people are forced to leave their villages for short and long-term employment. The lower castes often work as seasonally paid labours. A socio-economic study carried out in 1990 indicated that about 2% of the population were landless, and that 60% of the farmers own less than one hectare of land. Only an average of 3.8% own above 1 ha of cultivated land (Poudel, 1985).

The average literacy rate for men and women is estimated at 46% (men 65%, women 28%), a figure higher than the national average of 29% (Poudel, 1985).