Up Close and Personal on Nepal's Trishuli River

On Friday, March 17th, it was time to leave the city of Kathmandu and head west towards the resort communities along the Trishuli River.  After a 3 hour drive along the Prithvi Highway, amid commercial trucks and tourist buses traveling and passing along this two lane road following the river below, we arrived at the resort communities along the Trishuli River. The Trishuli is named after Trishula or the trident of Shiva—one
of the most powerful Hindu gods. Almost 200 of us were met by a sea of river rafts awaiting our arrival for our introduction to the Trishuli, the site of the 2nd Nepal Rivers Summit. After a safety demonstration, we donned our PFDs and our helmets, grabbed our paddles and shoved off in our rafts with our guides. The Trishuli was gentle to start but we knew what was to come, rapids created by elevation drops and narrows along this lifeline of the central region of Nepal.

Our Waterkeeper team from the US; Sharon Khan, Min Zheng, Brett VandenHeuvel and I, were welcomed onto the river by our guide, Megh Ale, Karnali River Waterkeeper and President of the Nepal Rivers Conservation Trust. Megh is a force of nature, the inspiration behind many of the water resource initiatives and the godfather of river recreation in Nepal. He continues his leadership with our growing network of Waterkeepers in Nepal, including the Karnali, Trishuli, Bagmati, SetiGandaki, and SunKoshi, and their affiliates.

Courtesy Vimal Thapa

Rafting on the Trishuli afforded us the opportunity to experience the river and for our diverse group to bond over water at the beginning of the 2nd Nepal River Summit. After the fun and exhilaration of rafting, we made our way en masse our campsite for two nights. We received an especially warm welcome to this village community following our walk along the suspension bridge across the river with a ceremonial welcome from the villagers dressed in beautiful and traditional dress. Continuing along a narrow pathway, we were awestruck by the sight that awaited us...a pristine stretch of beach conserved by the Nepal Rivers Conservation Trust and our home for the next two nights.

The Trishuli could serve as a metaphor for the issues we face as river advocates, times of calmness and agreement then times of discord and rough waters. The Trishuli is one of the most exploited river basins of Nepal, threatened by hydropower dams, sand mining and gravel extraction, and encroachment. While the country rebuilds from the devastating impacts of the 2015 earthquake, our Nepal Waterkeepers are working to protect this and other rivers.

We gathered on the banks of the Trishuli to educate, inspire and develop a common understanding of how to protect and preserve Nepal's beautiful rivers and ecosystems. More on the River Summit next...