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Economic use of water with urine from EcoSan in a greenhouse for vegetable production. Help people adapt and live in the same place.



Water is the essential environment for sustaining life. The Himalayan region of Nepal is relatively more vulnerable to climate change. Some households are being relocated due to the adverse impact of climate change on the water availability. Villages have been facing an acute shortage of water for drinking and irrigation over the last ten years. There is hardly any greenery to be seen around the village.

TThis is an idea to explore new thinking about enabling people with more adaptive capacity using best use of available water or minimizing  water needs in the view of water scarcity caused by minimum rainfall. This will help people easy to stay in the same place where they are living with sentimental attachment and dignity. This proposal is for demonstration in a community of the Himalaya region on how it can be done using already practiced technologies together so that government can develop some kind of strategy for the replication.

Urine diverting toilet will be designed that is suitable in the view of culture and environment of the Himalayan region. About ten households will be selected for use as a  pilot. Urine will be collected and urine bank established. Additional urine will be collected from the school within the community. Numbers of the greenhouses will be established. An appropriate mixture of water and urine will be applied using a drip irrigation system to make use of scare water and nutrient contained in the urine economically. The community will be encouraged to make use of rain water from the roof and used water. A guideline will be prepared based on experience for replication.

Concept will be applied in a community of  Mustang district because cases of water scarcity and relocation of community has been heard from news. Various agencies promoting above options will be consulted and local bodies will be encouraged to support and take the lead for the application.

Category of the action

Mitigation/Adaptation, Changing public attitudes about climate change

What actions do you propose?

The area in the Himalayan region is also naturally beautiful. People may not like to leave if the water scarcity problem is solved. It can be explored how their adaptive capacity can be enhanced using innovative technologies and management systems for solving the problem of water for domestic use and irrigation. Following technologies and practices will be appropriately applied in the local situation.

Drip irrigation: Drip-irrigation technology delivers water directly to the plant root at the required time through a system of plastic tubes, thereby preventing losses due to evaporation or runoff. Drip-irrigation systems are 90% efficient, and therefore require minimum water for growing vegetables. This will make efficient use of precious water for reproducing fresh vegetables. This kind of drip irrigation has been piloted and used in different parts of the Nepal. The system has been promoted in many placed of Nepal. Drip irrigation system manufactured in the Nepal will be used. As the system is very efficient to produce vegetable susing minimum people will be motivated to make small investment.

Ecosan toilet: Ecological sanitation is based on the fact that most of the nutrients excreted by human beings are contained in the urine. Hence, urine is separated from faeces using a special pan and then used for growing vegetables. This is more effective than fertilizer because it contains all kinds of trace metals which plants need. This technology will promote sanitation and recycle nutrients as well as water to some extent.  Simple ecosan toilet will be designed which separated urine and feaces will be emptied periodically. Toilet will be designed in consideration of cold climate and  culture of people in the area. As the district is ODF district people may have already constructed normal pit toilet. Ecosan toilet being more appropriate in the situation and useful for making use of urine people are likely to replace the toilet of make additional one.  This toilet fits in side of the souse which is easy in the cold environment.

Urine application: Urine mixed with 1:4 water and used with drip irrigation system fulfills both water as well as fertilizer needs. Theoretically, urine excreted by one person is sufficient to grow vegetables sufficient to one person. The ecological sanitation system is in use by about 2000 households in about 10 clusters of Nepal. Darechowk village of  Chitwan district is being developed as an ecosan village and resource Centre. A study carried by the Department of Water Supply and sewerage (DWSS) 2009 showed that ecosan technology is easily accepted by the people and more than 50 % people using the ecosan toilet are using urine and others are thinking to use. Urine will be collected from houses and schools and stored as bank for using. Appropriate doses of urine will be found based on its NPK content and water and NPK need of the vegetables suitable in the cold climate.

Green house:

Greenhouses offer the plants an environment which is often warmer, safer and a little more controlled than outdoor growing.  They effectively give a longer growing season by protecting against the worst of the wind and cold.  Greenhouse heaters protect against early/late season cold nights and are a way of keeping greenhouses warm in cooler climates.  Paraffin heaters can also be used, but may lead to extra condensation.  If you can, get a greenhouse with ventilation pane’s to help circulate air and prevent overheating on the hottest days.

With a greenhouse, you can ignore and evade almost all the season changes and weather conditions all year round. Extreme temperatures, excessive rain or long droughts will not cause any serious problems to your greenhouse gardening efforts. Green house will help people to grow vegetables in low temperature with aid of green house.


Who will take these actions?

Nam Raj Khatri (Environmental Engineer): Provide technical guidance for team formation, system design, operational research and evaluation.

Shreerandra Prakash Pokhral, EcoSan Research Center, Darechowk and local NGO THE SEWA Nepal: Implementation of overall program

Component experts to be selected ( Ecosan, Drip irrigation, greenhouse and urine application): To provide design of component, provide guidance for application and evaluation.

Water supply and sanitation division office of Mustang: selection of community and local coordination.

Local community: Coordination and participation in the application of the system in the community and continuation of the works after study.

A technical team comprising of Water supply engineer, Drip irrigation practitioner, EcoSan practitioner, Solar pump promoter, Rainwater water harvesting practitioner and practitioner of source conservation and anthropologist will be formed at Kathmandu to discuss and agree on solutions to be explored for the Mustang district of Nepal.

Where will these actions be taken?

The solution will be explored among most vulnerable communities within the Mustang district  and applied in a selected community. The technical team will be formed in Kathmandu. The support team will be formed at district headquarters. Based on experience gained in a selected community guideline will be prepared to practice the approach and technologies for other districts and communities

What are other key benefits?

People generally think about relocating the people from the Himalayan Region. This paper provides the varieties of technologies which can be used as an adaptive mechanism. Technologies are in practice within the countries in different places and context. This can be innovative thinking. Selected community will be directly benefited and guideline will be developed to be used in the other community in the similar situation in Nepal and beyond. 

Concept will be practices in the Himalayan area but many of the idea can be replicable in the other areas. In the future urine from the schools can be sold @One Rs/liter which will be sufficient to cover water sanitation and hygiene cost of the schools. This part will be analyzed

What are the proposal’s costs?

Cost of project coordinator and component experts (ecosan, drip irrigation, Green house and urine application), meeting among expert and practitioners: 2000$

Materials for ten ecosan toilets, urine collection and storage system, two greenhouses, and drip irrigation system:3000$

Field visits and travel cost: 2000$

Facilitation, training, meeting at district and field level : 2000$

Evaluation and development of guideline: 1000$

Time line

Time line

Formation of a team comprises of coordinator and component experts in Kathmandu and make a plan: First month

Design of ecosan toilet, urine system, drip irrigation system and greenhouses: Second month

Development and assembling of the system: Third and Fourth months

Coordination with districts, visits to sites and meeting with community team: Fifth and Sixth months

Setting up of system in the community: Seventh, Eight and Nineth month

Application and operational research: Tenth to Eighteenth months

Visit by component experts: Twelve to Eighteenth Months

Evaluation and Development of guideline

Nineteenth and Twentieth months

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Idea paper was presented on online conference Clima 2011: Water Scarcity in Himalayan region of Nepal caused by Climate Change: Technological options for adaptation