Despite rains, water crisis remains in Valley

Kathmandu, June 25

Although the Kathmandu Valley has been receiving rainfall almost daily for the past month, water crisis in the Valley remains the same as in dry season.

Naresh Maharjan, a local of Ghattekulo, said water supply from Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited was constant irrespective of the weather. “Through most of the year, our family barely receives water once every two weeks,” he said, “Whether there be a wet or a dry season, our family has to face water crisis.” The family has been using bottled water for drinking and water from a tube well for other purposes.

Bhagawan Upreti, a resident of Milan Chock, Baneshwor, also faces the same problem. He said he gets water only once a week from KUKL.

He added that the water distribution schedule remained unchanged in both wet and dry seasons.

KUKL supplies 1,000 to 15,000 litre per week, which cannot cover all needs such as sanitation, drinking, and cooking. Like the Maharjans, Uprety uses a tube well and bottled water.

KUKL is the only organisation that supplies water to the 2,700,000 people living in the Valley.

The organisation had increased water collection from 85,000,000 litres per day during dry season to 150,000,000 litres during the monsoon in previous years.

KUKL said that this year, the organisation has only been able to collect only 110,000,000 litres of water per day due to inadequate rainfall.

Chandra Lal Nakarmi, senior manager at technical department of KUKL, said, “The water collected from rain makes very little difference, and cannot cover the demands of the people in the Valley. Although we have been trying to increase water supply, our collections are not sufficient to do so.”

Nakarmi said the KUKL is preparing to increase water supply in areas where surface water level has increased this monsoon.

The current daily demand of water in Kathmandu Valley is around 370,000,000 litres, while daily supply stands at 110,000,000 litres per day. KUKL admitted that the main reason behind the scarcity was that the organisation has not been looking for other options apart from Melamchi.

“We have only considered Melamchi as an option to combat water scarcity for the last sixteen to seventeen years,” Nakarmi said, adding, “The crisis will be resolved only after the Melamchi project becomes operational.”

Of the currently supplied 110,000,000 litres of water per day, KUKL admitted that 30 to 40 per cent of the water leaks through years old water supply pipelines built during the Rana regime.

KUKL collects 65 per cent of its water from the surface, and 35 per cent from underground. The organisation has 76 deep tube well, and 17 water tankers. Private tankers supply 30,000,000 litres of water every day.

Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights-Nepal has expressed concern about improper and inadequate water supply in the Kathmandu Valley. According to the Drinking Water Quality Guidelines- 2006, Nepal, each person needs at least 45 litres of water per day, including a minimum of two to three litres of clean drinking water.