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Towards Climate Resilient Irrigation Infrastructures – Adding to Design Manuals

Asian Disaster Preparedness Center

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A. About Asian Disaster Preparedness Center

ADPC is an autonomous international organization with a vision to reduce disaster and climate risk impacts on communities and countries in Asia and the Pacific by working with governments, development partners, international organizations, NGOs, civil society, private sector, media, and other key stakeholders.

Established in 1986 as a technical capacity-building center, ADPC has grown and diversified its expertise across social and physical sciences to support sustainable solutions for risk reduction across a broad range of specialist areas. With over 100 staff from 19 different nationalities and a wide range of professional expertise from atmospheric scientists to social scientists with experiences from all levels of engagement typically required for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Resilience (CR) in an effective manner. ADPC is a competent regional resource center and has seven thematic departments: ADPC Academy, Risk Governance, Climate Resilience, Urban Resilience, Health Risk Management, Preparedness for Response and Recovery, Geospatial Information. These are supported by Finance, Human Resources and Administration, and Strategic Planning departments. In addition to the departments, ADPC works on three cross-cutting themes: Gender and Diversity, Poverty and Livelihoods, and Regional and Transboundary Cooperation through permanent working committees.

ADPC Strategy 2020 guides the organization in providing comprehensive risk reduction support to countries and communities in Asia and the Pacific. ADPC recognizes the importance of examining the linkages between disaster risk management, poverty reduction, gender equality, sustainability, rights-based approaches, climate change and regional cooperation.

With the financial support from the World Bank Group, ADPC has been implementing a five-year project, titled “Climate Adaptation and Resilience Project for South Asia” (CARE). The project aims to create an enabling environment for climate resilience policies and investments across South Asia. This objective will be achieved through enhanced regional cooperation and knowledge exchange for climate resilience and adaptation and mainstreaming of resilience and adaptation in national policies, plans and investments.

For details please refer to ADPC website.

B. Background

Disasters take a huge toll on the development agenda of SAR countries. Between 2000 and 2017, disasters in South Asia incurred estimated damages of US$ 149.27 billion. Public expenditure is under stress by the repeated need to reallocate capital budgets away from long term development planning and towards reconstruction activities in post-disaster environments. For example, since 2005, Pakistan has suffered losses on the order of US$ 16 billion due to natural disasters. In Bangladesh, 2007 Cyclone Sidr resulted in damages and losses of US$1.7 billion, or 2.6 per cent of GDP. Climate-related disasters across the world have focused attention on the need for resilient and adaptive infrastructure.

To increase resilience and achieve climate commitments, there is a need for a transformational shift towards policies and institutions that enable climate resilient investments. Investing in more resilient infrastructure is both profitable and urgent as disruptions are extremely costly for governments, households, private sector and large ongoing investments in infrastructure assets will have long-lasting repercussions as poor maintenance, and natural disasters result in a vulnerable stock.

Temperature rise in Nepal is projected to exceed the global average. Nepal is projected to be warmer by 1.2°C–4.2°C by 2080, under the highest emission scenario, RCP8.5, as compared to the baseline period 1986–2005 (CRCP Nepal, 2021). The maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to be increasing at a higher rate than the average temperature.

There exists considerable uncertainty in future precipitation, as the variability is compounded by the influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (CRCP Nepal, 2021). These two phenomena affect occurrence of intense rainfall as well as droughts in the region. Using Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models and the four Representative Concentration Pathways (i.e. RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5) it was estimated that the projected precipitation will decrease in the 2050s and increase for the 2090s (CRCP Nepal, 2021). Nonetheless, occurrence of extreme events will cause intensity of rainfalls, and thus floods, to increase.

The latest modeling updates using the CMIP6 and the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), shown by the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal, show the projected precipitation for 2020-2039, compared to reference period 1995-2014. It is seen that the median values of monthly precipitations for the months of November to March for all SSPs will likely be decreasing (from about 5% to 15%) while the wetter months will be increasing with a smaller amount of about 5%. The drier periods will be drier. For the next time horizon of year 2040-2059, the median monthly precipitations will increase marginally for the wet months of June to October and remain similar for the rest of time compared to the reference period.

An assessment of water sector policies carried out by the project identifying gaps and needs, along with stakeholder consultations and the priorities identified thereof recommended that climate-responsive infrastructure design support is required. The gradual increase in average temperatures, coupled with the climate variability and the increasing occurrences of extremes in climate, whether precipitation or temperature rise, is expected to enhance risks to Nepal’s infrastructures and livelihoods. Climate-related disasters across the world have focused attention on the need for resilient and adaptive infrastructure. The development of infrastructures in the water sector in Nepal need to be resilient or adaptive to the future climate scenarios. It needs to be designed and operated in a way that copes better with today’s extremes and is resilient to the more ‘extreme extremes’ of the future.

It must be noted that the increased temperature and the shifts in precipitation patterns can cause additional demands on irrigation infrastructures. Furthermore, the river flows are also going to be impacted by climate change altering water availability at the source, as well as additional risks from floods and droughts as well as associated water quality issues. The existing irrigation manuals in the irrigation sector is the multi-volume “Design Manuals for Irrigation Projects in Nepal” developed under the Planning and Design Strengthening Project in 1990 (commonly called the PDSP manuals). These manuals do not address climate change scenarios and the projected changes. It is essential to develop an addendum to the design manuals to incorporate climate change aspects in the designs so that the developed infrastructures are climate resilient or adaptive to future climate scenarios.

Climate-resilient infrastructure is characterized by its ability to anticipate, prepare, and adapt to adverse climate conditions. It must be able to steadily resist, respond, and quickly recover from disruptions caused by climatic conditions. The services of a Consultant is required to carry out the work “Towards Climate Resilient Irrigation Infrastructures – Adding to Design Manuals” to better analyze the interventions needed and prescribe the best way forward to make the designs of the irrigation infrastructures in Nepal more resilient to climate change with preparations of the products as detailed in Section C below.

C. Statement of Intent

The Climate Resilient Irrigation Infrastructure Expert will be responsible for (i) understanding and identifying the potential impacts of climate change on irrigation projects in Nepal to define entry points, (ii) recommending improvements on the existing design guidelines and manuals in practice in Nepal to address climate change impacts in design of irrigation infrastructures, (iii) preparing an addendum to the PDSP design manuals for planning and design of climate resilient irrigation infrastructures , and (iv) prepare a checklist to ascertain that the design have indeed addressed probable climate change impacts correctly.


It is not the intent of this Terms of Reference to cover every aspect of the position requirements, but rather to highlight the most critical areas of personal and joint responsibilities.

D. Duties and Responsibilities

The Climate Resilient Irrigation Infrastructure expert will be responsible for:

  • Review: Understanding and identifying the potential impacts of climate change on irrigation sectors in Nepal and define entry points to improve the existing design guidelines and manuals in practice in Nepal in terms of addressing climate change impacts. The Consultant will consider the current priorities of the irrigation sector in Nepal, including the type of irrigation projects being developed, technologies adopted and practiced in Nepal to better prepare for the deliverables.
  • Recommend: Best procedure to incorporate climate change aspects in the planning, and design of irrigation projects and infrastructures in Nepal.
  • The tasks shall include, defining the best suitable procedure to estimate future flows with climate change at source as well as the demands at the farm. It shall include updates on methods, among others, to estimate crop-water requirement, irrigation requirements as well as estimating design parameters of structures, diversion works, headworks, conveyance systems, canals and ditches, cross-drainage works, etc. related to climate change impacts on irrigated agriculture. These tasks will need to look at the average change and trends in climate parameters as well as investigating extremes including heat waves, droughts, precipitations and floods essential for reliable service delivery and safety concerns of irrigation infrastructures.
  • Prepare: The Expert will prepare addenda design manuals to existing manuals with detailed procedures and process flow charts adopting best global practices appropriate for Nepal.
  • The recommendations will need to look at various aspects of project scale, size, location, project life, management scenarios, capacity, etc. to address risks, vulnerability and importance to public safety, economy and livelihood. Different procedures may be applicable for different schemes (for example, for it might be different according to the ecological region, or the size or source of irrigation water) depending upon the risks associated and a framework will need to be developed to guide interventions in addressing climate change impacts on planned projects.
  • Prepare: Develop checklists (apart from revisions of the detailed design procedures and other requirements) to enable decision makers, planners and investors to ascertain that the design and the resultant project has addressed climate change impacts according to the prescribed changes in design guidelines so that the projects can be labelled as being responsive to climate change and have incorporated measures to adapt to climate change or enhance resiliency of the systems.
  • Documentation: Developing a concise report specifically describing the review findings, the recommendations made and the new design procedures defined to add on to the existing manuals and guidelines.
  • Attending an inception meeting with stakeholders at DoWRI, , MoEWRI and WECS.
  • Attending and responding at technical consultation meetings with stakeholders and the funding agency teams and their missions.

E. Qualifications

The candidate should at least have:

  • Master’s degree either in Civil Engineering, Irrigation Engineering, Water Resources Management, or equivalent.
  • Experience in the development of design manuals in water sector in general and irrigation in particular.
  • At least 15 years’ experience in planning, design and operating procedures for surface and groundwater irrigation schemes, including hydrological analyses of source waters.
  • Experience in the Asian region is required and preferred in Nepal or South Asia..
  • Excellent understanding of climate change scenarios, impacts, adaptation and resilience in general and specific to the water sector.
  • Experience in projects related to addressing climate change impacts on water infrastructure is essential, experience in climate-proofing infrastructures is desirable.
  • Experience in projects funded by the World Bank, ADB and other multilateral and bilateral donors would be desirable.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.

F. Deliverables and Payment Plan

  • Signing of the contract - 20% of the payment
  • Delivery of recommendations in the form of addendum to design manuals for detailed design procedures to ensure relevant projects and project infrastructure are climate resilient - 40% of the payment
  • Delivery of checklist to ensure design is climate resilient and fulfilling other reporting requirements - 40% of the payment

G. Reporting Relationships

The Climate Resilient Irrigation Infrastructure Expert will report to the Director, Climate Resilience and work in close coordination with Project Director CARE for South Asia Project, Bangkok (Thailand). The technical oversight will be provided by Integrated Water Resources Management Specialist (Regional) at the Bangkok office and the country water sector specialists through the PIU.

H. Contract Type Duration

The overall window to execute the contract will be 6 (six) months with no scope of extension envisaged.

Expected start date: The assignment is expected to start in June 2024.

Type of Contract: Output based contract with the deliverables described in Section F above.

I. Selection Method

The consultant will be selected in accordance with ADPC’s recruitment process and in compliance with the World Bank Procurement Regulations.

How to apply

Interested Candidates can submit the completed ADPC application form,

(downloadable from ‘Join us’ in, resume, copy of degrees/certificate(s) together

with a cover letter, to:

For inquiries, please contact to

Female candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

ADPC encourage diversity in its workplace and support an inclusive work environment.


Terms of Reference 0.2 MB, PDF, English

Document links last validated on: 2 May 2024

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