Case: Nepal - Improved Water Mills

IWM Programme: a Success Story

By Ganesh Ram Shrestha, Centre for Rural Technology –Nepal (CRT), INFORSE National Focal Point.

Since January 2011, Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) has been executing the Improved Water Mill (IWM) Programme with support under its En ergy Sector Assistance Programme (ESAP). Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal (CRT/N) is the technical service provider of the programme. The previous phase of the programme has been implemented in the hilly districts of Nepal since 2003 by CRT/N, with the support Netherlands Development Organization, Nepal (SNV/N) and executed by AEPC. With objective of improving livelihood of rural people, the programme has been able to improve around 6550 watermills (ghattas) until June 2011. The IWM Programme has provided its services to indigenous, dalits and marginalized people of the country. From the improvement of the ghattas, the people are getting additional benefit from diversified services such as rice hulling, oil expelling, saw milling, electricity generation. The programme also has been able to uplift the economic and social status of ghatta owners and its customers. Mostly women and children are getting direct benefit by reducing drudgery and saving of time required for agro processing.

A Case Study of a Ghatta Owner is Presented Here:

Ram Bahadur Dangol resident of Thanpati - 7, Nuwakot district is father of 4 children and husband of Mrs. Seti Devi Dangol. Previously he had two traditional water mills at the same stream of river Likhu. The income from these two watermills was nominal as they were only engaged in cereal grinding. As per information and offer provided by Service Centre to improve the water mill, they were convinced and decided to go with the offer. In October 2006, they improved their water mill with Long Shaft, installing Chiura (beaten rice) Beater, Saw Mill and Rice Husker.

Thanpati village is rich in production of rice, wheat and maize. The village has 400 households. The village had no any option of paddy processing services except electric and diesel mill. The cost of processing by electric and diesel mill is very expensive. Mr. Dangol was also well familiar with this situation. Therefore, he decided to install rice husker and polisher, chiura beater and saw milling services operated by freely available water. He installed the Long Shaft IWM with these technologies with the support from IWM Programme by getting subsidy NRs. 20,000.00 and credit from Agriculture Development Bank NRs. 1,00,000.00 at 12% per annum. He invested total amount NRs. 1,98,060.00 including subsidy from IWM Programme and credit from bank for the ghatta improvement and installation of other technologies. After improvement of the ghatta, most of the customers of diesel mill and electrical mill were started to visit ghatta in order to process their agriculture products and saw milling. The main reason of attracting more customers is cheaper processing cost than diesel and electric mill, longer storage time, better taste etc. The annual income has been also increased from NRs. 17,250.00 to NRs. 44,452.00.

From the operation of IWM, the social and economic status of Mr. Dangol's family has changed. The earned money from IWM was mostly utilized for food, education, health and loan repayment. From the earning of the IWM, NRs. 25000.00 has been paid to the bank. During Dashain (a big festival of Nepal) of 2007, Mr. Dangol was able to earn NRs 2,00,000.00 by selling "chiura' (beaten rice) in Kathmandu. The legal status of ghatta owner has been changed to cottage industry enterprise by registering the IWM into Small and Cottage Industry Development Committee.

In addition to the service providing to his neighbours, the ghatta has also brought change in his family. His wife, Mrs. Seti Devi Dangol became executive member of Ghatta Owners' Association (GOA), Nuwakot. She also got training on Association Management. She participates in GOA meeting regularly. In addition, his children got more time to read. Two daughters are studying in grade 12 and a son is also studying in grade 9. They help their father in operation and maintenance of ghatta during their free time. All the family members were happy with their Ghatta as family run business.

Mr. Dangol is confident that the villagers are very happy with the installation and operation of IWM. He is also thinking that he could provide more service to his neighbours by installing an oil expeller in IWM. He is very happy with IWM Programme that the villagers know him by "Ghatta Entrepreneur" rather than "Ghatera", a socially discriminating term.

More information:

INFORSE’s Manual’s Micro Hydro section: “Sustainable Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia”

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The cases were collected in the framework of the "Southern Voices on Climate Change" Project. Link: