Nepal Hydropower Overview

Bestowed with 2.27% of the world water resources, 818,500 Ha of total water surface area, about 6,000 rivers including rivulets and tributaries totaling about 45,000 KM in length, Nepal is the second richest country in inland water resources.

The perennial nature of rivers and the steep gradient of the country's topography provide ideal conditions for the development of hydropower. Theoretical hydropower potential of the country in terms of electrical energy is 727,000 GWh and 145,900 GWh per year respectively based on average and 95% exceedance flow. In terms of megawatts, the potential is estimated at 83,000 MW, of which half i.e. 40,000 MW is considered to be technically and economically viable. However, Nepal till date has been able to develop only approximately 680 MW of hydropower.

Energy Gap (2011 Figures)

Annual Peak Demand

946.10 MW

Dry Season Generation

450 MW

Deficit (Gap)

500 MW


Annual Total Energy Demand

4833.35 GWh

Generated Energy from Available Source

3850.87 GWh

Yearly Energy Gap

982.48 GWh (20.33%)

The annual peak power demand of Integrated Nepal Power System (INPS) was 946.10 MW in 2011. There is a power deficit in the country resulting in daily load shedding (the situation improving in the wet season and becoming bad in the dry season).

According to forecasts, the power misery due to supply-deficit is likely to continue till at least 2013-14, when, among others, Upper Tamakoshi (456 MW) is expected to be commissioned.

The electricity demand has been increasing in Nepal by about 7-9% per year, and only about 40 % of population has access to electricity through the grid and off grid system. The main load centre is the central zone which includes the Kathmandu Valley.

Nepal Hydro Key Facts

  • second richest country in inland water resources
  • possess 2.27% of world water resource
  • 818,500 ha of total water surface area (5% of total surface area of the country)
  • multiple sources of water include glaciers, snowmelt from the Himalayas, rainfall, and ground water
  • 6,000 rivers including rivulets and tributaries totalling about 45,000 km in length
  • hydropower potential in terms of electrical energy - 727,000 GWh
  • theoretical hydropower potential - 83,000 MW; technically and economically viable potential - 40,000 MW
  • installed capacity: 600 MW
  • population with access to electricity - 40%

Most of the power plants are run-of-river type with energy available in excess of the in-country demand during the monsoon season and deficit during the dry season. This imbalance clearly stresses the need for storage projects. There is only one seasonal storage project in the system.

The load factor is quite low as the majority of the consumption is household use. The system loss, which accounts to 25 % including technical and non-technical losses like pilferage, is one of the major issues to be addressed to improve the power system.

Despite liberalization of the state policies* allowing private investors to build and operate hydropower projects in Nepal, and a strong demand for power in the country, significant developments have not yet happened.

*The Hydropower policies seek to promote private sector investment in hydropower and aims to expand the electrification within the country and export.



The data presented in this page has been compiled from different credible sources and mainly from the Internet. However, JLTBCL does not authenticate these data, or present the facts and figures mentioned in this page as its own view. Thus, the facts and figures presented herein should be used as a general indicator only, and the discretion of the patron is warranted in their use.