The project is likely to start supplying water to the Valley by March
Kathmandu, November 25
With only 956 metres of tunnel remaining to be excavated, Melamchi Drinking Water Project has moved closer to meeting its target to start supplying water to Kathmandu Valley by March 26.
Executive Director at Melamchi Water Supply Development Board Ram Chandra Devkota said if everything went as planned, tunnel work would be completed by January. If this happens, the project will start supplying water to Kathmandu Valley by March.
“Finally, we are closer to meeting our target,” Devkota told The Himalayan Times, “If we do not face any unforeseen hurdle, there is no doubt that the project will meet its target.” The contracting company CMC Cooperative Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna had promised to complete the Ambathan-Gyalthum and Sindhu-Gyalthum stretches of the tunnel by November and December respectively.
However, MWSDB said the Sindhu-Gyalthum stretch was unlikely to be completed in December due to weak rock problem that the contractor had been encountering since last year. However, this would not affect the project’s target to start supplying water by March, added Devkota.
The board said around 300 metres along the Ambathan-Gyalthum and 650 metres along Sindhu-Gyalthum stretches remain to be excavated.
Deputy Executive Director at MWSDB Ramakanta Duwadi said tunnel work was likely to be completed in January. The 27.5 km tunnel comprises three stretches — Sundarijal-Sindhu, Sindhu-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Ambathan. Three stretches cover 9.5 km, 8 km and 9 km respectively. Of the three adit tunnels, the longest stretch Sundarijal-Sidhu, which covers 9.5 km, was completed on December 28 last year.
Due to weak rock formation, tunnel construction pace has been decelerating since long. The Melamchi project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second deadline expired in 2016.
On April 3 this year, the deadline was extended to October 2017.
Started on 21 December 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is assisted by the Asian Development Bank and aims to reduce drinking water scarcity in the Valley. The Melamchi project envisages supplying 510,000,000 litres (170,000,000 MLD in first phase and remaining 340,000,000 MLD in second phase) of water per day to the Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.
A version of this article appears in print on November 26, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.