The Budhi Gandaki is a tributary of the Trishuli River, one of Nepal’s most popular and easily accessible rivers with impressive gorges and exciting rapids. Sadly, the Trishuli and its tributaries are also among the most exploited rivers of Nepal. The Budhi Gandaki originates from the Tibetan Plateau and flows southeast along the eastern slopes of the Ganesh Himal Mountains before joining the Trisuli River near Mugling. The Budhi Gandaki River consists of 180 glaciers and supports a population of approximately 243,295, including indigenous peoples. The Budhi Gandaki River supplies water for domestic, agricultural, and industrial (hotel and restaurant) uses, and is home to small-scale fishing industries. However, the river is now threatened by hydropower projects and illegal sand mining. The Budhi Gandaki Affiliate of Trishuli River Waterkeeper will actively patrol the waterway and collect information to share with local community members and policymakers to advocate for protection the watershed.
Uttam Kandel is a leading activist of Save the Trishuli River; he is a social mobilizer, campaigner and educator in Dhading, Nuwakot and Gorkha Districts. He began advocating against the destructive uses of the river more than a decade ago and has been threatened by government agencies and local politicians many times during his campaigns against illegal sand mining activities. Uttam is deeply connected to his ancestral home and community on the Budhi Gandaki River and has made it his life’s mission to protect it.