Lubhu villagers tapping water from traditional wells

Lalitpur, November 17:

Locals of Lubhu village development committee (VDC) have been tapping water from traditional wells, which had fallen into disuse, to meet their water deficit.

Despite their endeavour, one problem is still plaguing them: Bacterial contamination of well water. Because of this problem, they have still been coping with scarcity of drinking water. The locals have cleared and revived 20-odd wells, which had turned into dumping sites after piped water became accessible in the VDC two decades ago.

“The wells were completely forgotten and ignored after the supply of piped water through Chapa Kharka Water Supply and Dovan Water Supply projects in the 1980s,” said Ram Bahadur Shrestha, chairperson of the Lubhu Infrastructure and Environment Improvement Committee (LIEIC). They were used to dump wastes and would have remained as dumping sites had the prevailing scarcity of water not forced the locals to revive them.

With support from the UN-HABITAT, Water Aid, Nepal and Centre for Integrated Urban Development, the LIEIC has cleaned the wells to tap water and put an end to the scarcity of water.

There are over 1,100 households in the area, whose average daily water requirement is 60, 000 litres. “Water from Chapa Kharka and Dovan was not enough,” he said, adding that supplies were irregular. “This monsoon, the pipelines laid to bring water from Dovan were washed away. There was no water except for drinking.” All wells, which were covered with mud and wastes, have been cleared. However, water in all except two wells were found to have bacterial contamination.

“We are trying to make well water potable. There is no scarcity of water for other purposes,” Shrestha said. They are planning to chlorinate the water and are even making preparations to turn conventional pit toilets into septic tank toilets to prevent contamination of the wells.

Anil Sthapit, director of Guthi, an NGO working for water and sanitation, said traditional sources of water like wells and stone spouts can be reliable sources of water.