Community taps in Valley running dry

Kathmandu, July 25:

Community taps in 100 different places in Kathmandu Valley are running dry.

The community taps were installed by the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) to address drinking water woes of the low income people in the valley.

KUKL had, two years ago, established Low Income Consumer Support Unit (LICSU) to address the water and sanitation needs of people living in slums and squatters. LICSU had, with support from the Asian Development Bank, launched a pilot programme to convert public taps into community taps.

It had installed 101 taps in different parts of the valley. “The taps have merely become showpieces,” said Durga Shrestha, user of Purneshwor Community Tap at KMC-11. The tap was installed six months ago.

Before the construction of a water storage tank in Purneshwor, squatters used to fetch water from a spring near Kalmochan, a 15-minute walk from their homes.

“When the concrete tank was built, we thought that our drinking water woes would end. But we are disappointed,” she added.

She added that each household got just two jars of water when the tank was full.

The Low Income Consumer Support Unit had installed each tap and built water storage tank having capacity to store 2,000 to 5,000 litres of water, investing Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.

Users’ committees had paid 20 per cent of the total construction cost. The project was supposed to supply water free of cost in the first year, at 50 per cent subsidy in the second and at 30 per cent subsidy in the third year.

The pilot programme was terminated in June. Prakash Amatya, executive director of NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation, said more than half of the community taps were in need of supervision.

Sunil Dhoj Joshi, head of the LICSU, said they could not provide piped water to storage tanks because of so many constraints.