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Natural resources are the free gifts of nature. These resources are given by nature in different names to human beings. These are two types of natural resources: Renewable and Non-renewable.
Water is the most important natural resources. Water is the life of biological factor and one of the major source of the economic development in the modern age.
Nepal is the 2nd richest country in terms of water resources i.e. next to Brazil. It occupies 0.3 % of total water resources of the world. About 45000 km is the length of rivers in Nepal. The capacity of hydro-electricity generation is 83000 M.W.
Water resources play an important role in the economic development of a nation. No one can imagine the life of living beings without the consumption of water. A water can use by the nation for various purpose such as hydro electricity, irrigation, etc.
1) Agricultural development
Agriculture is said as the backbone of Nepalese economy. The modernization of agriculture contributes to the economic modernization in Nepal. Development of agriculture depends upon the facility of irrigation. In present context of Nepal, about 40% cultivate land has been provided only by irrigation facilities. In order to increase the agricultural products quality, there must be good irrigation facilities.
2) Conservation of forest resources
Forest resources is still a major source of energy in Nepal. Still, around 75% energy is supplied by forest in our nation. The forest has been massively destroyed because of over depending on the energy. The proper use of water resources helps to minimize the dependency ratio upon forest and conserve it. When the hydro-electricity projects are run, it supplies the energy so that forest can be conserved. In order to control deforestation, there must be alternative sources of energy and hydroelectricity will be the best in the context of Nepal.
3) Development of tourism industry
Nepal has the extinct potentiality of promoting the tourism industry. That also eco-tourism. The tourism industries have a close relation with the water resources in our nation. Different kinds of extinct games can be organized in our fast flowing rivers which help to promote tourism. Development of tourism industry helps to increase employment opportunity and also to earn the foreign currency.
4) Hydro-electricity generation
The economic development in this modern age is based on electricity and its use. Though the electricity can be generated from the other means as well but hydroelectricity is the best in the context of Nepal. Our fast flowing rivers which are occupied by water are considered to be the best for the electricity generations. In order to run the industries electricity is the must. Though the optimum use of these water resources we can sell the electricity in the foreign currency.
5) Protection of aquatic animals
In order to maintain the bio-diversity protection of aquatic animals is also equally important. Water resources can be used for the protection of such animals in the Nation. We even can export the products in the foreign nation and all foreign currencies for domestic purpose. The water resources are used for the daily activities in our life. For the household activities cooking, washing, drinking, bathing etc. water resources i.e. used even the pure drinking water is manufactured as well.
6) Increase employment opportunities
The optimum use of the water resources helps to increase the employment opportunities. It helps to increase the employment through the tourism development and setting the hydro projects the employment opportunities are an increase in the nation that helps to reduce the brain drain.
7) Development of the trade and industries
The proper use of water resources, directly and indirectly, supports the development of trade and industries. In this industrial age in order to manufacture the goods, electricity is very important. The use of electricity helps to reduce the production cost of the community. When the product cost is less we can easily expand the market and the expenses of the market helps to foster the industries in the nation.
Ironically, Nepal though rich in water resources, has been facing the problems in the context of developing water resources due to the following reasons:
1) Lack of capital
The Nepalese economy is trapped in the chain of a low rate of per capita income, national saving, national investments, national productions and national employment, leading to the low capital formations. Therefore, electricity projects, irrigation projects and drinking water projects have been undergoing irregularities and difficulties due to the lack of sufficient capital investment.
2) Political instability
The frequent change of government is the burning example of political instability in Nepal. Along with the change in governments brings about the change inplansandpolicies, which stops the ongoing development of water resources projects.
3) Lack of transportation facilities
Most of the hydro-electricity projects lie in the hilly regions without proper transport facilities. The transport facilities will have to be developed before launching the projects. A large amount of project cost will have to be spent on developing infrastructures such as roads, this increases the project cost significantly.
4) Limited market potential
Since Nepal is situated between two great nations India and China. The market of our country is limited. The purchasing power of people is very low. It is difficult to export electricity to china due to the difficult topography on the way and to India where the price per unit of electricity is much less than here. So, it is very hard to pay the principal and interest of the public debt for the projects.
5) Defective government policy
The industrial and economic policy of Nepal is not in a position to duly attract private or foreign investment on water resources projects. Adopting liberal economic policy, the government should have a clear-cut vision towards the development of water resources and develop the ways to accumulate capital whether by private or public sectors by changing its existing plans and policies.
Adhikari, Ramesh Prasad, Economics-XI, Asmita Pustak Prakashan, Kathmandu
Kanel, Navaraj et.al., Principles of Economics-XI, Buddha Prakashan, Kathmandu
Kharel, Khom Raj et.al., Economics In English Medium-XI, Sukunda Pustak Bhawan, Kathmandu
There are two types of natural resources