International Association of Hydrogeologists Australia

IAH NSW Tech Talk

Volunteering with the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board in Nepal

by Ellen Kwantes-Shrestha


Ellen completed two remote assignments in 2020-2021 with the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board (KVWSMB) in Nepal through the Australian government-funded Australian Volunteer Program (AVP). This was initiated following two months of  in-country volunteering  with an NGO called Small Earth Nepal, which enabled her to make contacts at the KVWSMB.

The AVP focusses on developing partnerships between skilled Australians and partner organisations in the Indo-Pacific region to help local teams achieve their development goals through capacity building. Ellen’s assignment focussed on assisting the local team with their conceptual and numerical groundwater model development for the Kathmandu Valley. She volunteered with a team of three young hydrogeologists, training them in the use of Groundwater Vistas groundwater modelling software and other software packages. It’s been a great experience for Ellen and the team, including opportunities to further develop knowledge of the hydrogeology of the Kathmandu Valley.

Ellen will present on her volunteering experience.


Ellen is an associate hydrogeologist at WSP and an accredited Registered Professional Geoscientist in the field of Hydrogeology. Ellen has close to 15 years’ experience in groundwater investigations across a number of industry sectors, including infrastructure, mining and water resource management. She has been a member of the IAH NSW committee for over 10 years.

Ellen has a special connection to Nepal. As her husband is Nepalese. She always wanted to contribute to groundwater management in the Kathmandu Valley. In 2019 she took long service leave and spent 2 ½ months in Nepal with her family.

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