Gandaki River System

Gandaki river system lies in central part of Nepal. Gandaki river basin is also referred as Narayani river system. It is a trans-boundary river system, originating from Tibetan Plateau, flowing through central Nepal and draining into Ganges river in India. About 69% of the total area (46,300 sq. Km) lies in Nepal (Chand et al. 2019). It is the second largest river basin of Nepal. Marsyangdi, Daraudi, Seti, Madi, Kali Gandaki, Budi Gandaki and Trishuli are the seven major tributaries of Gandaki river basin. These rivers drains along trans-himalaya, mountain, hill and terai of Nepal meeting to form Narayani river at Chitwan. There are about 1,710 glaciers  and over 300 lakes in the upper catchment of Gandarki (Bajracharya & Shrestha 2011)

Most of the precipitation (78%) is covered during summer monsoon (Panthi et al. 2015). Contrastingly, Manag and Mustang at trans-Himalayan region receives least precipitation while Lumle receives the most precipitation in Nepal (Chand et al. 2019). The mean annual flow of Gandaki basin is about 1583 m3/s at Narayanghat. Gandaki basin has altogether 1,340 glaciers and 116 glacial lakes within Nepal boundary (CBS 2019).  The basin is vulnerable to water induced disasters particularly during monsoon season; affected by landslides, debris flow and floods. Upper East Seti and Aandi Khola watershed of Gandaki basin are the most sensitive towards climate change; ranked 1st and 4th respectively. Whereas Budhi Gandaki watershed of Gandaki basin ranks 15th among overall vulnerability to climate change and lies in High class (Siddiqui et al. 2012). The basin holds high position in hydro-power development perspective. The power potential of Narayani basin is estimated to 17800.2 MW (Jha 2011). Kali Gandaki A hydropower, largest in the country till date lies in the region.

The presence of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhre mountains have drained lots of tourists annually in this region. The southern plains are home to indigenous community like Tharu. National parks, archaeological places, religious places, etc makes this region a potent place for tourism activities. Trishuli river is one of the frequently used river system for recreation activities like rafting and canyoning.

In 1959, Nepal and India agreed on an agreement for the construction of Gandak hydro-power and irrigation project at Nepalese territory near Indo-Nepal boarder, a multi-purpose design aimed at providing hydroelectric power, irrigation and flood control, mainly for India (Subedi 1999).



Subedi, S. P. (1999). Hydro-diplomacy in South Asia: The conclusion of the Mahakali and Ganges river treaties. The American Journal of International Law, 93(4), 953-962

Bajracharya, S. R., Shrestha, B. (2011). The status of glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. Kathmandu, Nepal:

Jha, R. (2011). Total run-of-river type hydro-power potential of Nepal. Hydro Nepal: Journal of Water, Energy and Environment7, 8-13.

Siddiqui, S., Bharati, L., Panta, M., Gurung, P., Rakhal, B., & Magarjan, L. D. (2012). Climate change and vulnerability mapping in Watersheds in Middle and High Mountains of Nepal. Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM), Government of Nepal

Panthi, J., Dahal, P., Shrestha, M., Aryal, S., Krakauer, N., Pradhanang, S., Lakhankar, T., Jha, A., Sharma, M., Karki, R. (2015). Spatial and temporal variability of rainfall in the Gandaki river basin of Nepal Himalaya. Climate3, 210–226

Chand, M. B., Bhattarai, B. C., Baral, P., & Pradhananga, N. S. (2019). Trend analysis of temperature data for Narayani river basin, Nepal. Sci, 1(2).

CBS. (2019). Environment statistics of Nepal. National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal