Scientists from CSIRO and partners are extending an olive branch of water resource management experience to China and Nepal.

Teams from Australia are collaborating with Asian scientists to begin work on the Koshi River Basin, an area of millions of people whose livelihoods depend on the Koshi’s fertile floodplains. They will have their work cut out; the Basin is struggling with problems of over-population, greater energy demands and constraints of natural hazards and a changing climate.

Emabrking on a four-year project, CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country Flagship will provide technical assistance to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development's (ICIMOD) Koshi Basin Programme. CSIRO scientists will develop a basin-wide modelling system to water resource management. The system will incorporate information on water availability, freshwater environments and the ecosystem services they provide, as well as social considerations such as the effect of changes in water availability on livelihoods.

The CSIRO team are working on a rounded plan, which considers all environmental, economic, political and social factors.

"Australia has a long history of managing a scarce and variable water resource, and sharing this resource amongst competing users," said CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Director, Dr Carol Couch.

"There is much the Australian water experience will bring to this project ... research will be undertaken as a partnership between Australian organisations and ICIMOD researchers, based in Nepal. We will also be learning from ICIMOD, particularly in relation to sediment movement, snow melt and glacial processes," said Dr Couch.

More information is available from CSIRO.