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Kali Gandaki Hydroelectric Project A, Nepal


In 1997, Kali Gandaki Hydroelectric Project A began with the construction of a dam over the Kali Gandaki river. The dam was built by the Italian company Impregilo S.p.a (1). The project, worth an estimated US$420 million, was financed by the (ADB), the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Finnish Development Agency (FINNIDA). Social movements and unions at both the local and national levels protested against the serious environmental and social impacts created by the project.

In 2013, the World Bank funded further works for safety measures and to improve the response capacity of Nepal in case of an emergency (2)

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Kali Gandaki Hydroelectric Project A, Nepal
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The Kali Gandaki is a run-of-the-river project, with a capacity of 144 MW, 842 GWh of electricity annually, included a 44 meter high dam at Mirni, the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Andi Khola rivers, as well as a 5,9 km tunnel to pipe water from these two rivers.

Project area:300
Level of Investment:420000000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1992
Company names or state enterprises:Sacyr from Spain
Relevant government actors:Nepalese Government, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA)- Nepal
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) from Japan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs ヨ Development Cooperation (FINNIDA) from Finland
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:National Nepalese Union, International Institute for Human Rights, Environment and Development Federation of Nepal, CIRA

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:The affected asked the Asian Development Bank to find alternative projects to the Kali Gandaki dam and its supply of electricity.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The dam and the hydro-power plant continue operating in Nepal.

Sources & Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Kali Gandaki ‘A’ Hydroelectric Project in Environmental Perspectives,

Rajendra P. Thanju

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

(1)Impregilo project design

(2)World Bank

Big hydro, big hanky-panky?, by NAVIN SINGH KHADKA fro Nepali Times

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update08/04/2014