Improving Urban Water and Energy Services in Nepal

Kathmandu : Over the past few decades, Nepal has experienced rapid urbanization, creating resource constraints for essential services such as energy and water, and resulting in immense challenges for urban planning and service provision. According to the UNICEF/WHO only 25 per cent of Nepal’surban population have access to safely managed water services. While 94 per cent of Nepal’s urban population has access to electricity, only 72 per cent have access to reliable, affordable and uninterrupted access to electricity for a significant part of the day, and two thirds of Nepal’s firms identify electricity as a major constraint to doing business in the country according to the World Bank’s enterprise survey.

The country’s energy sector is also struggling to accommodate the growing demandfrom urban areas, while remaining committed to sustainable, reliable, and affordable service delivery. Keeping both of these challenges of urban service provisionin mind, the GSMA Digital Utilities programme is organizing a forum on “Improving Urban Water and Energy Services in Nepal” in collaboration with Diyalo and Gham Power to innovate, ideate and explore new ways to address the urban challenges or water and energy in Nepal.

The GSMA Digital Utilitiesprogramme’s mission is to enable access to affordable, reliable, safe and sustainable urban utility services through digital solutions and innovative partnerships. Inclusive utility services, such as energy, water, sanitation, waste management and transport support urban resilience, which allows cities in low- and middle-income countries to better withstand challenges related to population growth, climate change, and inequality.

The forumwill bring together key stakeholders from the public and private sector, as well as funders and enabling organizations to drive improvements in urban service delivery through digital solutions and innovative partnerships. The GSMA Digital Utility UrbanForumsin Lagos, Kigali, and Islamabad led to fruitful conversations, provided pathways for lasting partnerships between private sector innovators and the public sector, and identified key enabling environment interventions. In the upcoming GSMA workshop in Nepal, the focus is on the challenges of making access to urban energy and water services in Nepal more affordable, reliable, safe, and sustainable.

The main objectives of the workshop include:
• To understand the current challenges of utilities in the provision of urban energy and water services in Nepal
• To develop partnerships with and between stakeholders in Nepal working in affordable and accessible energy and safe water sectors and identify areas of mutual understanding
• To serve as an information and knowledge sharing session for different stakeholders in the accessible and affordable energy and safe water sector to share their ideas and perspectives
• Demystify public-private partnerships in water and energy by drawing on best practices from our work in other low- and middle-income countries
The forum is expected to be attended by over 20+ senior level government officials from the water and energy departments of Nepal, enabling organizations working in the water and energy sector and start-ups which have been supported by the GSMA, which in addition to Gham Power and Diyaloinclude eSewa, GeoKrishi, and Practical Action. The event is closed-door and will feature roundtables and panel discussions with key industry stakeholders to discuss the role of digital solutions and partnerships in urban water and energy service provision.

Through this workshop,the GSMA Digital Utilities team and its supporting partners,Gham Power and Diyalo, hope to raise awareness of the potential of digital solutions and partnerships in improving energy and water services in urban areas. Additionally, this forum hopes to create a platform for relevant partnerships between government, the private sector, and enabling organisations that can drive innovative use cases and service delivery models across Nepal and the wider region.