Nepal | January 16, 2021

Construction of Melamchi water project almost over

Himalayan News Service
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KATHMANDU, JULY 5

Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Bina Magar has claimed that the inauguration of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project is not far away. She said that water will soon be distributed to the households of the capital by inaugurating the project as soon as possible.

Minister Magar mentioned that though it was technically challenging due to various ups and downs the project is finally nearing completion.

“The two-decade-long dream of Melamchi is about to become a reality,” she said, adding, that the project has entered a new phase after starting the necessary preparations for the test.

As per Magar, water was transferred to the main tunnel of the Melamchi project at 9:45am this morning for necessary test procedures. Water was diverted from Zero Chain to the tunnel through temporary headworks. About 800 metres of the tunnel has been tested till the first audit of Ambathan tunnel.

Water was again returned to the Melamchi River from the Ambathan audit. Water will be diverted again to the main tunnel on Monday after test completion of the Ambathan audit.

Initially, water is flowing into the tunnel at a rate of 260 litres per second as per the technical criteria for testing. The water has been supplied according to the prevailing international standards for the safety and operation of the tunnel.

It is estimated that it will take 15 to 20 days for the tunnel to be filled with water. The fully filled tunnel will be kept as it is for 10 days for further tests. After that it will take another 10 to 20 days to clear the tunnel at the same rate of water flowing out at 260 litres per second.

Once the tunnel is empty it will take about seven days to fully test the condition of the tunnel. If there is any problem it will be resolved as per the need, said Magar. After that, water will be made available for the distribution system of Kathmandu valley through regular water transfer system.

Tiresh Prasad Khatri, executive director of Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, said that water from the Melamchi project will be sent to Sundarijal regularly after about two months once the necessary tests are over. At present, water is being brought through temporary structures. Once the permanent structure is formed it will be brought through that. A few parts of the permanent headworks are under construction and will be completed soon, he added.

After the Italian company Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) di Ravenna abandoned the project, the Chinese company, Sinohydro Corporation, has been carrying out the construction work. The Chinese firm is supposed to complete the tunnel construction before Dashain this year – October 29.

As per the agreement, the one-year deadline started from October 29, 2019 and Sinohydro must finish all the remaining works of the Melamchi project by October 28 this year. CMC had quit Melamchi project without any valid reason in December 2018.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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