Irrigation and Water Resources Management Project (IWRMP) has been initiated with the objective of poverty reduction. Original Scope (OS) of  IWRMP commenced on 31st January 2008 with total US$ 65 million financial cost out of which US$ 50 million as grant from the World Bank (WB) and US$ 10 million and US$ 5 million by Government of Nepal and  contribution from Water Users Associations (WUAs) of the selected Farmers Managed Irrigation Systems (FMISs) respectively. The project has four components: (a) Irrigation Infrastructure Development and Improvement; (b) Irrigation Management Transfer Reform; (c) Institutional and Policy Support for Improved Water Management; and (d) Integrated Crop and Water Management.

The objective of the Irrigation Infrastructure Development and Improvement Component-A of the IWRMP is to: (i) improve irrigation water service delivery in selected schemes in the Mountain, Hill and Terai plus development and expansion of groundwater irrigation in the Terai in selected sites in 40 districts of Nepal (West:16, Mid West:15 and Far West:9) covering 134 FMISs schemes (Surface: 125 & GW: 9) having total command area of 20,038 ha (Surface: 17,643 ha and GW: 2,395 ha) (ii) Capacity building of DOI with inland / foreign trainings, workshops and study tours. (iii) Institutional Strengthening and support activities to DOI and WUAs and (iv) Feasibility study, and detail engineering design of the schemes, and technical assistance for implementation. Project implementation period under OS covered the period from March 01, 2008 to June 30, 2013. However, the completion deadline was extended to 30 June, 2016. The consulting services provide technical assistance to the Department of Irrigation. A total of 755.60 MM (Int'l: 9.53 MM, National: 746.07 MM) has been consumed from the beginning to the end of the project.

The Project Implementation & Coordination Committee (PICC) approved 134 subprojects (19 in mountain, 81 in hill and 34 in Terai) at an estimated cost of NRs. 3,148.79 Million. As of June 2016, 129 subprojects (18 in mountain, 79 in hill and 31 in Terai) have been completed covering 18,312 ha of land at a cost of NRs. 2,292.02 Million. Six subprojects remained incomplete (2 in western, 3 in mid-western and 1 in far-western region) with area 1,596 ha.

112 out of the completed 128 SPs showed improvement in water delivery. The average water delivery in the mountainous region has improved from 60 lps to 122 lps. Similarly, the average water delivery in the hills has been improved from 51 lps to 151 lps and the figure in the terai is 769 lps from 192 lps. Percentage increase in irrigation at tail end command area also registered an upward trend: in the Mountain region (10 to 75.6 %), Hill (3 to 70%), and in Terai (10 to 64%). Substantial increase in the irrigated area was also recorded, in the Mountain belt: 294 to 498 ha, in the Hill: 1934 to 4090 ha and in the Terai: 3,164 to 5,824 ha.

Regarding the timeliness of water delivery 72% of Head reach and 52% of Middle reach farmers have rated as excellent, 46 % of Middle and 78 % of Tail end farmers as good and 5% of Tail Enders rated as poor.

The current average cropping intensity in 106 subprojects is 233% against the prior figure of 156%. Average pre and post project productivity of major crops (t/ha) showed a rise Paddy (2.219 to 3.616 t/ha) Wheat (1.705 to 2.692 t/ha) and Maize (1.765 to 2.797t/ha) potato (7.799 to 13.128 t/ha) and vegetable (8.273 to 13.654 t/ha). As regards the cost benefit of major crops, paddy pays the highest benefit of 63% followed by maize of 58%.

Many schemes had some form of WUA for many years and were working in one form or another; there are some schemes where WUAs are in existence but had to be reorganized.  In such a situation, there is an equal possibility of having or not having a well-developed WUA capable of handling the subproject activities meant for support.  Therefore, the level of capacity building varies from WUA to WUA. Moreover, past experiences show that the WUAs are generally active during the construction phase of the project development and passive after its completion. This lacuna prompted the project to identify the need for some sort of support to WUAs in the post construction period as well.

Preparation of SEMP reports were carried at the concerned IDD/IDSD/GWIDDs and approved by the Office of Project Director (OPD). SEMP identified and assessed the social and environmental issues/impacts resulting from the proposed implementation activities and prepared a management plan with mitigation measures including the cost of mitigation, monitoring, auditing and capacity building.

Field visits for monitoring of the compliance of mitigation measures for the SEMP identified issues/impacts was carried out by the TA team at the regional and central levels. A third party monitoring of SEMP activities was commissioned by the OPD. Third party monitoring documents on SEMP compliance in selected SPs in three ecological belts were prepared.

The issues identified in SEMP were implemented during subproject construction works. However, a review of SEMPs and field monitoring revealed that a total of 102 environmental and social issues were pinpointed and 178 mitigation measures implemented in the subprojects.

The 14th IRSM workshop that was held in Dec 2015 in Pokhara reviewed the SEMP implementation modalities and discussed experiences gained from the IWRMP implemented subprojects. There were 3 WB review missions and a support mission during 2012-2013 focusing on environment and social aspects and monitoring of SEMP implementation. Following the recommendation from the review mission, the quality of the SEMP reports at the end of OS and subsequently for the AF subprojects improved. 

The major safeguard issues raised in the SEMPs of the OS subprojects of IWRMP showed considerable variations. Compatible mitigation measures were proposed with allocation of budgets. Analysis carried out on the basis of monthly reports and field monitoring of all the three development regions indicated a satisfactory level of SEMP implementation in the subprojects.