Climate risk and adaptation (CRA) assessment is required for the 635 MW Dudhkoshi hydroelectric project (DKSHEP) to ensure the project addresses climate change mitigation and adaptation in accordance with ADB’s requirements. The initial Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) by FutureWater in 2021 suggested the project is likely to be affected by future changes in climate conditions and their impacts including temperature increase, precipitation increase, flood, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), and landslide risk. The mountainous regions of Asia are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with increasing evidence suggesting that weather and climate extremes in these areas will become more frequent and intense in the future. This is highly relevant, as there are many instances in the Himalayan region, such as the Melamchi flood event in June 2021, the Chamoli flood in February 2021, the Kedarnath flood in June 2013 and the Bhotekoshi flood in June 2016, which resulted in significant damage to critical water resources infrastructures, especially hydropower, and communities downstream.

The inital Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) by FutureWater in 2021 for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) identified the need for a detailed CRA for the DKSHEP to understand the risk posed by the changing climate on hydropower and the environment. Therefore, the objective of this Climate Risk and Adaptation Assessment (CRA) is to assess the vulnerability of the project components to future climate change and recommend adaptation options for climate-proofing the design. This CRA covers both type 2 adaptation, related to system change and resilience building, as well as type 1 adaptation related to climate-proofing. FutureWater will support ADB to ensure that the project will adequately address climate change mitigation and adaptation in accordance with ADB’s requirements.

FutureWater will make use of state-of-the-art downscaled Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensembles, and other relevant hazards and local information to develop this CRA. Insights from the CRA will be used to devise adaptation strategies. FutureWater will also ensure climate resilience measures are incorporated into the detailed design and environmental management planning before finalizing the climate change risk assessment. Together with the client’s engineering and safeguards team (Nepal Electricity Authority), FutureWater will ensure that the detailed design and environmental management plans incorporate all other recommended climate resilience measures and that their implementation is sufficiently detailed including bioengineering techniques, nature-based solutions, and an early warning system. FutureWater will collate the information and work closely with the national geological and GLOF consultants to review all available options for (i) sediment management plan, (ii) upstream catchment management plan, and (iii) emergency preparedness and response plan. FutureWater will provide several capacity-building sessions to the project team on the findings of the initial CRA, and the potential options for climate resilience measures to incorporate in the project design and operation to address the risks identified. Moreover, this project will develop a GHG account and prepare SARD climate change screening and Paris Agreement alignment assessment.