February 2021

ASSESSING THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON ACCESS TO WATER, SANITATION, AND HYGIENE – Country Deep Dive Report – Nepal

In May 2020, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) tasked the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS) project with assessing the effects of the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and products in USAID high priority and strategy-aligned countries. The assignment sought to characterize the current state of affairs and to forecast near-term trends (6–18 months) that could assist governments, donors and implementers prepare an informed response to the WASH-related impacts of the pandemic.

This report presents the detailed findings of the deep dive for Nepal.

The COVID-19 pandemic control measures instituted by the Government of Nepal resulted in major restrictions on mobility that were sustained for longer periods than most other countries we investigated. The economic shock of the pandemic has been severe: in World Food Program telephone surveys of 4,400 households in April and August 2020, roughly 30 percent of respondents reported a reduction in income over the previous 30 days in both survey waves. We learned of no government interventions on water provision and pricing, and comparatively little international donor response has been directed at the WASH sector in Nepal.

Our topline findings, by subsector, are as follows:

WATER SUPPLY – CURRENT STATUS

  1. Urban and peri-urban/small town water service providers report pandemic-linked financial and operational challenges.
  2. Operations, scheduled maintenance and new construction has been impacted by lack of availability of key inputs, transport restrictions, and reduced availability of labor.

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In collaboration with USAID, Tetra Tech, FSG and Iris Group.

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