Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) handed over an additional grant of Euro 300,000 to continue the assessment and determination of minimum environmental flow (e-flow) required under the National Environment Protection Act 2007 and the Water Act of Bhutan 2011.

Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), Thinley Namgyel, and the Resident Coordinator of the Austrian Coordination Office for Development Cooperation, Johannes Binder, signed the grant agreement in Thimphu yesterday.

The project for the determination of minimum e-flow started in October 2014. With the grant of Euro one million, the project has so far collected the e-flow data from four project sites of Punatssangchhu, Chukha, Pachhu, and Phochhu.

The project, which was expected to be completed by February this year, was extended until December to cover one more river stretch, Nikachhu.

A press release from the GNHC stated that the overall goal of the project was to keep the flora and fauna intact at the hydropower stations. “Implemented by the NECS, the project has led to the finalisation of the guidelines based on e-flow data collected from the four project sites.”

It further stated that NECS would coordinate with the national partners such as the Druk Green Power Corporation, academic institutions under Royal University of Bhutan, and the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research to conduct and determine minimum e-flow, the development of the guidelines and its dissemination.  “NECS will also explore the development of institutional linkages with international partners with the required expertise and knowledge on e-flow.”

Karma Cheki