1.4 lakh in valley tap spout water

Kathmandu, May 9:

Although piped water supplied by the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) is the major source of drinking water in the Valley, traditional stone spouts are providing 7.6 million litres of water daily for the people who are deprived of the piped supply.

While the KUKL has been able to supply a maximum of 79 per cent of the demand during wet season, the traditional stone spouts contribute to nearly 3.5 per cent of the water requirement

of the Valley. Nearly 4 million people are estimated to be living in the Valley. Water demand of nearly, 1.4 lakh people is met through the traditional sources.

According to the recent survey on stone spouts in five municipalities of the Valley, out of 406 stone spouts 248 are naturally functioning and they discharge 7.6 million litres of water every day during the wet season. The survey report by NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation has stated that 108 out of 178 stone spouts in Kathmandu Metropolitan City; 47 out of 61 in Lalitpur, 34 out of 88 in Bhaktapur; 49 out of 66 in Madhyapur Thimi and 10 out of 13 stone in Kirtipur Municipality are functional.

Although the water supplied from these spouts may seem very small as compared to the total demand, these spouts are a great relief to the people in some pocket areas including some peri-urban areas of the Valley, said Prakash Amatya, executive director of the Forum.

Currently, many stone spouts are non-functional or discharging water far less than their natural capacity, he said, adding, they can cater to more people if they are conserved and maintained. The stone spouts are getting dried as their sources are being encroached upon by the day due to unplanned housing and urbanisation.

Reports said, 67 stone spouts in the Valley are non-functional, 47 have disappeared and 44 are being maintained through artificial supply of water.

Despite the importance of stone spouts, government agencies seem not interested in conserving, maintaining of reviving them. The Department of Archaeology (DoA), which is responsible for conservation of traditional heritage, has no plans for conservation of stone spouts.

Rajesh Mathema, chief archaeologist, DoA, said it will think about it once the locals approach it for conservation of traditional water sources.

However, locals in some areas have geared up on their own to conserve the stone spouts by forming users’ and conservation committees. Locals at Alko Hiti in Ikkachhen neighbourhood of Lalitpur, Pan Dhara and Ichangu have already been tapping the water from spouts and distributing it to local households.