Kathmandu, October 13
The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, which aims to supply adequate drinking water to denizens of Kathmandu Valley by next Dashain, said 73.85 per cent of tunnel boring work had been completed so far.
According to the board, 20,372.5 metres of the total 27,584.5 metres tunnel had been dug so far.
“We still need to dig 7,212 metres and this may take around nine months more. We hope we will be able to start supplying water to Kathmandu Valley within a year,” said an official.
Although the project aims to dig a kilometre stretch of the tunnel on an average a month, it has only been able to dig 800 metre due to various hurdles. The project now needs to complete construction of the remaining 7.2 km tunnel by July next year.
The Melamchi project was envisioned in the late 1990s and the first agreement to construct the project was signed in 2003. The project took off only in 2010, seven years after the agreement was signed.
The project work remained halted until the government awarded the contract to Italian firm CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna in July, 2013.
The project was expected to be completed by February 19, 2016, but was delayed after construction work halted for 10 months following earthquakes last year.
Before awarding the contract to CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna, the government had scrapped the contract offered to China Railway 15 Bureau Group in September 2012 due to the latter’s unsatisfactory performance.
Melamchi Water Supply Project, which began in December 21, 2000 is a project funded by Asian Development Bank. The project covers parts of Indrawati and Bagmati watershed and includes areas of five districts.
The key water diversion facilities are located within Sindhupalchowk and Kavrepalanchowk districts, whereas water treatment plant, water distribution and the ancillary structures are located within Kathmandu Valley.
Melamchi Project aims to supply 510,000,000 litres of drinking water to Kathmandu Valley per day.
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.