Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Change Induced Flood Adaptation in Nepal

By Rohini Devkota.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Floods are becoming increasingly common in Nepal resulting in a huge loss of life and damage to settlements, agriculture lands and infrastructures in various parts of the country. Most recent research findings suggest that climate change has accelerated the intensity and frequency of flood hazards in most parts of the country. Communities are however, making use of options that increase their preparedness for these flood hazards. This paper intends to assess the indigenous knowledge on flood forecasting and flood adaptation strategies at the community level in two districts of Western Terai of Nepal. Two focus group discussion and a total number of 240 households were interviewed during field visit. The collected information was scaled from least preferred- 1 to most preferred-5 based on their preferences. The research findings indicate that there are some very effective local flood forecasting practices such as identifying the position of clouds; monitoring the extent of rainfall in upper catchments; analyzing the mobility of ants; analyzing the magnitude of thunderstorms and wind blows; analyzing the magnitude of hotness; and hearing strange sounds from river/torrents. Synthesis and analysis of these indicators help communities prepare for potential flood events, through (1) preparation of search and rescue related materials; (2) creation of small drainage structures in each plot of land and storage of the valuable material; and (3) the psychologically preparation for floods. This paper argues that these indigenous flood forecasting and adaptation strategies could be particularly useful for migrants, who are in flood prone areas but are not familiar with those practices, in other parts of the country.

Keywords: Theme: Human Impacts and Impacts on Humans, Climate Change, Flood, Adaptation Strategies, Community Practices

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.35-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 611.863KB).

Mr Rohini Devkota

PhD Student, Faculty of Business and Law and Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Mr. Devkota is pursuing his PhD on ‘Perceived Impacts and Flood Adaptation Strategies under Climate Change in Nepal’ at the University of Southern Queensland, Queensland (USQ), Australia. He completed his Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Technology from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands. Prior to Australia, he served as a Lecturer of Environmental Science at Tribhuvan University, Nepal where he supervised Master level research students and delivered classes of climate change and water resources. Previously, he was an Environmental Officer at the Ministry of Local Development, Government of Nepal where he prepared a baseline database report on solid waste management for all municipalities of Nepal. He has published many articles in national and international journals and magazines.

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