Kathmandu, December 1:

The locals of Ichangu will not be walking and queuing up for hours to fetch water in buckets from the ‘Pan Dhara’ (five stone spouts) and getting piped water at their houses soon, after collecting the water in reservoirs and distributing it through pipes.

Until now, residents of Ward No 4, 5 and 8 of Ichangu and Ward No 9 and 9 of Sitapaila are totally depended on the ‘Pan Dhara’ for water. This is the only source of water for drinking, cleaning and other purposes. Everyday, people queue up in the spouts to get their turn to fill the water. The ‘Pan Dhara’ releases 14 litres of water per second and it has been the source of water for over 450 households.

With help from the Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project, the locals have constructed a 65,000-litre reservoir on the premises of the Pan Dhara. They have also ducked pipelines to their homes and are in the process of constructing a 150,000-litre tank at a height of 45 metres above the ground to supply the water to their houses.

A local resident, Gopal Tiwari, said that current the use of water is very unsystematic and tiresome. The systematic management of the water from ‘Pan Dhara’ will offer a great relief to the locals, he said.

“It was not an easy job. We had to fight with numerous people and groups to secure our right to use the local resource for ourselves,” said Ram Saran Nagarkoti, the president of Pan Dhara Source Protection and Drinking Water Users’ Committee.

A few years back, three private water-supplying firms including the Ichangu Drinking Water Transportation Service had started extracting the water from near the ‘Pan Dhara’ area from the underground and selling tanker water in the City. The result was that the stone spouts went dry and the locals faced an acute shortage of water. The locals then filed a case against the companies in 2005 and the Supreme Court restored their right to use their local resource. Since then, the locals geared up to manage the water systematically and arrange piped supply to the households.

The Water Supply and Invigilation Office, Panipokhari, has provided them with technical and financial assistance for the execution of the project that is estimated to cost Rs 11.6 million.