Towards Climate Resilient Hydropower Infrastructures

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Asian Disaster Preparedness Center

Position description

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 at

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 Nepal itself, the summer monsoon seasons wreak damages to operating as well as under-construction hydropower projects repeatedly. In June 2023, a total of 30 projects of which 13 were under operation, reportedly suffered damages approaching US$47 million. Similarly, Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) and landslide blocked lake outburst floods, triggered by climate change, are known to damage infrastructures in and around the region. 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. Some examples of risks arise from potential threats of GLOFs, geohazards such as landslide induced floods, enhanced sediment mobilization, fluvial flooding as well as reduced low flows affecting hydro-electricity generation. 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.

Increased temperature and the shifts in precipitation patterns have and will cause additional demands on water infrastructures, including hydropower. The river flows are impacted by climate change altering water availability at the source, as well as additional risks from increasing frequency of extreme events including droughts. Sediment loads are also expected to increase. Potential risks and impacts will differ according to the location of the power projects, size and characteristics of catchment, type of project development as well as the individual arrangements for water diversion or storage, intake, sedimentation, conveyance, power generation and evacuation, tailrace including the overall setup of appurtenances. It is also important to have information available on geohazards and climate risks at river basins where significant hydropower development is envisaged as well disaster risk management action plans (DRM-APs) and service continuity plans for existing hydropower plants to minimize disruption to service.

The Department of Electricity Development, Government of Nepal lists the following guidelines for hydropower developers in Nepal.

  1. Guidelines for Study of Hydropower Projects, 2018
  2. Power House Design Guidelines for Hydropower Projects, 2018
  3. Guidelines for Operation and Maintenance of Hydropower Plants, Substations and Transmission Lines, 2017
  4. Guideline for Power System Optimization of Hydropower Projects, 2015
  5. Design Guidelines for Headworks of Hydropower Projects
  6. Design Guidelines for Water Conveyance System of Hydropower Projects

These manuals do not address explicitly climate change scenarios and the projected changes to make the design, construction and operation climate responsive, resilient and adaptive to climate change. It is essential to develop an addendum ( or addenda if the Expert proposes) to these design manuals to incorporate climate change aspects in 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 Hydropower Infrastructures – Adding to Design Guidelines” to better analyze the interventions needed and prescribe the best way forward to make the hydropower water sector more resilient to future climate change and impacts with preparations of the products as detailed in Section C below.

C. Statement of Intent

The Climate Resilient Hydropower Infrastructure Expert will be responsible for understanding and identifying the potential impacts of climate change on hydropower projects in Nepal to define entry points and recommend specific improvements on the existing design guidelines in practice in Nepal to address climate change impacts and make the sector more resilient to climate change and its impacts.


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

D. Duties and Responsibilities

The Climate Resilient Hydropower InfrastructureExpert will be responsible for:

  • Review: Understanding and identifying the potential impacts of climate change on hydropower 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 priority of the hydropower sector in Nepal, including the hydropower development scenario, typologies, technologies adopted and practiced in Nepal.
  • The review part shall includea compilation of available information concerning geohazards and climate risks relevant to hydropower development in Nepal; focusing on river basins where significant hydropower investments are planned; case studies and lessons learned from hydropower projects on the impact of disasters affecting hydropower plants (HPPs) in the region or similar areas around the world (for example the recent GLOF in Sikkim, India); examples of river basin-wide disaster risk management action plans (DRM-APs) focused on managing geohazards and climate risks from/to hydropower structures, including protecting downstream communities; and examples of service continuity plans for HPPs.
  • Recommend: Best procedure to incorporate climate change aspects in the planning, locating, design, construction and operation of hydropower schemes in Nepal. The Expert may propose to classify recommendations according to the elevation, location, size or type of hydropower projects.
  • The tasks shall include, defining the best suitable procedure to estimate reliable flows at source as well as updates on methods, to estimate design parameters of all related structures, dams and weirs diversion works, headworks, sediment management, conveyance systems, , etc. related to climate change impacts on hydropower development. These tasks will involve looking at the average changes 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 hydropower infrastructures.
  • Prepare: The Expert will prepare addenda design guidelines for incorporating climate change aspects to existing guidelines 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 scenario, capacity, etc., to address risks, vulnerability and importance to public safety, economy and livelihood as well as project costs, viability and investment returns. Different procedures may be applicable for different schemes (for example, for it might be different according to the climatic region, or the size or source of catchment) 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 from DoED, MoEWRI, WECS and other professionals.
  • 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, Hydropower Engineering, Water Resources Development, or equivalent.
  • Experience in the development of design manuals in water sector in general and hydropower development in particular.
  • At least 15 years’ experience in planning, design, operation and preparation of operating procedures for hydropower plants and systems, including hydrological analyses of source waters, hydraulic design of HPP appurtenances and components.
  • Experience in the Asian region is required and preferred in Nepal or South Asia. Excellent understanding of climate change projections, scenarios, impacts, adaptation and resilience in general and specific to the region of hydropower projects.
  • Experience in projects related to addressing climate change impacts on water infrastructure and climate-proofing infrastructures is essential.
  • Shall have experience in preparation of disaster risk management action plans (DRM-APs) in the engineering sector in general or on managing geohazards and climate risks from/to hydropower projects, with good knowledge on risk analyses, spatial analyses and assessments.
  • Experience in projects funded by the World Bank, ADB and other multilateral and bilateral donors would be desirable.
  • Experience in South Asia with specific experience in Nepal will be an added advantage.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.

F. Deliverables and Payment Plan

  • Signing of the contract – 10% of the payment
  • Review Report identifying areas where climate adaptation and resilience indicators can be included to the hydropower design manuals. The report shall also include sections on a compilation of geohazards and climate risks relevant to hydropower development focusing on river basins where significant HPP investments are planned – 20% of the payment
  • Recommendation in the form of an addendum to design guidelines for detailed design procedures to ensure relevant projects and project infrastructure are climate-resilient and a set of procedures to develop and implement river basin-wide DRM-APs for the hydropower sector considering cascading risk effects – 30% of the payment
  • Delivery of checklist to ensure design is climate resilient and fulfilling other reporting requirements – 30% of the payment

G. Deliverables

The Climate Resilient Hydropower Infrastructure Expert will have the following deliverables:

  • Review Report identifying areas where climate adaptation and resilience indicators can be included to the hydropower design manuals. The report shall also include sections on a compilation of geohazards and climate risks relevant to hydropower development focusing on river basins where significant HPP investments are planned, case studies and lessons learnt from the impacts of disasters affecting HPPs, examples of river basin-wide disaster risk management action plans focused on managing geohazard and climate risks from/to hydropower structures, and examples of service continuity plans.
  • Recommendation in the form of an addendum to design guidelines for detailed design procedures to ensure relevant projects and project infrastructure are climate-resilient.
  • Recommendation of a set of procedures to develop and implement river basin-wide DRM-APs for the hydropower sector considering cascading risk effects.
  • Preparation of checklist to ensure the design is climate resilient and fulfilling other reporting requirements

H. Reporting Relationships

The Climate Resilient Hydropower 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 country water sector specialists through the PIU.

I. Contract Type and Duration

The contract duration will be for 06 months with no scope of extension.

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

Type: The type of the contract is “Output-based” as described in Section F of above.

J. Selection Method

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

Application instructions

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