National Improved Water Mill (IWM) Programme


The history of Improved Water Mill (IWM) technology development in Nepal dates back to early 1980s, initiated through a project aiming for dissemination of IWMs. From 1990 onwards, the Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal (CRT/N), a national Non-Governmental Organization, has actively been involved in the promotion and dissemination of IWM through motivating and supporting local water mill owners with the support from various development organizations.
In Nepal, there are about 25,000 to 30,000 traditional water mills operating with low efficiency for the purpose of grinding grains. When improved, these water mills called Ghatta can easily double the grinding efficiency. Improved Water Mills (IWM) Programme was being implemented by the Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal (CRT/N) from the year 2003 with the support from Nepal Government through Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) and Government of Netherlands through Netherlands Development Cooperation, Nepal (SNV/N) till 2010. Since 2011, AEPC/ESAP has been supporting the programme.


The key objective of the IWM Programme is to improve the living conditions of rural households especially that of women traditional water mill users, and to make the sector sustainable by implementing activities at macro (Institutional strengthening like LPOs and Kit manufacturers) and micro (support to associations like GOAs) levels. IWM also intends to contribute in keeping environment intact through discouraging overuse of wooden parts in constructing traditional water mills and fossil fuel in diesel operated mills.

Programme Period

From January 2011 to 2013.


Physical Target

  • 1000 Improved Water Mill with 200 numbers of end use diversification.
  • 15 number of IWM electrification.


Programme Area

  • Includes all hill and mountain districts of Nepal.
  • Initially IWM Programme was launched as pilot programme in four districts viz. Kavre, Makwanpur, Ramechhap and Lalitpur. Later, it was extended to 15 more districts viz. Ilam, Taplejung, Panchthar, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot, Tanahun, Baglung, Myagdi, Surkhet, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, Rasuwa, Mugu and Sindhuli. From 2011, 14 new districts are added making a total of 33 programme districts. There is huge demand for this technology from almost all hilly and mountainous districts of Nepal.
  • Total Coverage Districts: Ilam, Panchthar, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Dhading, Gorkha, Makawanpur, Lalitpur, Sindhui, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Jumla, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Salyan, Rolpa, Rukum, Pyuthan, Surkhet, Dailekh, Darchula, Baitadi, Dadeldhura, Bajhang, Bajura, Achham and Doti.


Strategic Approaches

  • Awareness creation regarding IWM technology through establishment of Orientation and Demonstration sites, Documentary, Radio Programme and production and distribution of various information brochures and leaflets.
  • Organizing Water Mill Owners by supporting them to create Ghatta Owners Group (GOG) and Ghatta Owners Association (GOA).
  • Streamline the gender and social inclusion through IWM.
  • Establishment of Quality Management System.
  • Capacity building of local Service Providers.
  • Arrangement of subsidy from Rural Energy Fund (REF).
  • Collaborate with local bodies, line agencies and other livelihood programmes for better synergy.
  • Follow-up and monitoring of the installation and programme activities.
  • Research and Development for innovation.

Expected Results

  • 1000 IWM owners will increase their income from IWM by providing efficient services to around 78,000 HHs. Also 750 HHs will have access to electricity.
  • Drudgery on waiting mainly of women of around 1, 56,000 hours will be reduced.
  • Around 51,670 T of CO2 emissions will be reduced from 1000 IWM including end uses and electrification considering a life period of 10 years.
  • 1000 IWM will be installed with a capacity to provide a total of 2.65 MW of clean energy.
  • Women and socially socially excluded strata will be capacitated through IWM training activities.
  • Generation of employment in rural areas.
  • Significant increased sustainability of IWM sector as a result of improved institutional and local capacity.

Being developed as a CDM project
Through increased efficiency of services to users, IWM has helped in checking the entry of diesel mills to the market and has contributed in reducing carbon emissions from diesel powered water mills. The study has found that around 75 diesel mills have already been replaced by IWM, the main reason being the expense of diesel, difficulties for transportation from market, high maintenance cost, high tariff to the customer and degradation in the taste of the products (KU, 2009). The facilities that were provided by diesel mills are now often provided by IWM. The programme has already completed a Project Idea Note (PIN) and is currently in the process of developing a PDD for registration under the CDM.

It has been recognized that preparation of a PDD will open the new avenues to enter in the Carbon financing so that the revenue could be utilized for the promotion of the programme. AEPC has also shown interest in the preparation of a PDD and has initiated to find potential consultant for the preparation of PDD. WINROCK International which had prepared PIN of the IWM programme, as a consultant has been identified for the PDD preparation. ADB credit financing project has one component of preparing PDD of IWM programme.

Subsidy Information
Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) has revised the subsidy being provided in different renewable energy technologies including improved water mills. As per the revised subsidy, Short Shaft IWM will get Rs. 12000 and Long Shaft will get Rs. 27000. The transportation subsidy for remote districts was also increased to Rs. 2000 for Short Shaft and Rs. 3500 for Long Shaft. Similarly for far remote districts namely Mugu, Dolpa and Humla the transportation subsidy was increased to Rs. 3000 for Short Shaft and Rs. 4500 for Long Shaft installations. For IWM electrification purpose, the subsidy was increased to Rs. 60000 per kW (or Rs. 6000 per household whichever is less) from Rs. 40000 per kW (Rs. 4000 per household). The newly revised subsidy has been effective for the installations carried out after January 8, 2009 (Poush 24, 2065 B. S.). Projects operating in Karnali region and ten districts namely Humla, Jumla, Kalikot, Dolpa, Mugu, Rolpa, Jajarkot, Bajhang, Bajura and Darchula near by Karnali region will get extra NRs. 30,000 per KW as a transportation subsidy.

Related Downloads :

Download - Notice Published in Nagarik on 28 Oct, 2016
Download - Cover
Download - Application Form In English
Download - Selection Procedure for Product Development
Download - Improved Water Mill: Development in Nepal