Age-old system of wells, stone spouts helps meet Patan’s drinking water needs

Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, January 16:

Though many areas in the Valley face acute shortage of drinking water, people in Patan area meet their potable water needs through traditional sources of water, such as the wells and stone spouts which are still functional.

While people would prefer tap water if given a choice, traditional water sources play a vital role in meeting the needs of people here. Over 200 traditional wells and 50 stone spouts are still in use in Patan. Locals say, however, that the water drawn from these traditional sources is not always safe. The main reasons for the contamination of the well-water are seepage from the platform or overground collar of the well itself and also contamination through external sources such as the use of dirty buckets.

The Urban Environment Management Society has been working with locals to rehabilitate, upgrade and manage these traditional sources of water. Dal Bahadur Sintan, president of the society, said, “Conservation awareness and proper solid wastage management are necessary to address the contamination problems.” Prakash Shrestha, a volunteer, who is working to create awareness on the maintenance of traditional water sources, said, “Treatment of the water with chlorine and maintenance of the wells through proper monitoring and training to the users are the ways to ensure purity of the well-water.”

The society provides technical assistance to rehabilitate such wells. So far 80 wells have been rehabilated in 12 wards of Lalitpur sub-metropolitan city.

In case of stone spouts, Sintan said, “We are running awareness campaigns. We are consulting the elderly people who have more knowledge of such issues.”