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MacCarl, B, 2012 –– From Plump to Pump: Land, Wealth and Inequality in Nepal's Groundwater Irrigation Strategy


Brady MacCarl Project Video

Courtesy of the International WaterCentre Alumni Network (IWCAN)
Footage and commentary by Brady MacCarl. Music by Pablo Orams


Project overview

Nepal does not lack water. But dense demographic pockets, combined with a kaleidoscopic landscape and prevalent levels of poverty act in tandem to ensure that water resources cannot be efficiently utilized throughout the country. For a nation where agricultural production still dominates the national economy a major economic opportunity is lost when farmers cannot maximize their yield due to insufficient water resources.

To confront this problem Nepal has invested heavily over the past two decades in developing groundwater irrigation in the country’s agricultural region, the Terai plains. In collaboration with the International Water Management Institute, I investigated the proliferation of groundwater boring in this region, and whether the economic benefits of the government’s groundwater development strategy were sufficiently filtrating to disenfranchised groups such as women, landless farmers and lower social castes—such as dalits.

My experience in Nepal, in addition to the skills I learned in the IWC enabled me to secure a job with Teck Resources, where I continue to work in water quality assessment and community engagement. After a few years in the industry, I hope to work at the policy level with issues that pertain to international water basins.


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