Kathmandu, September 19
The contractor for Melamchi Water Supply Project — CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna — has submitted a written commitment, saying it would complete the Ambathan-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Sindhu stretches of the project tunnel by November and December, respectively.
According to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, the contractor has assured that tunnel construction will be completed by December at any cost. Deputy Executive Director at MWSDB Ramakanta Duwadi said the board was hopeful that the contractor would achieve tunnel breakthrough by December. The previous deadline for tunnel construction expired in July.
“Since just 1,700 metres tunnel remains to be excavated, we believe that the contractor will complete the task within the deadline,” Duwadi told The Himalayan Times, adding, “Despite technical and geographical obstacles, the commitment by the contractor shows that the task is near completion.”
The 27.5 km tunnel comprises three stretches — Sundarijal-Sindhu, Sindhu-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Ambathan, which cover 9.5 km, 8 km and 9 km, respectively. Of the three adit tunnels the longest Sundarijal-Sindhu stretch, which covers 9.5 km, was completed on December 28 last year. The contractor said it would take at least three months to begin water supply to Kathmandu Valley after tunnel breakthrough.
MWSDB said Melamchi project would start supplying water from April or May next year.
Due to weak rock appearance, tunnel construction pace had been decelerating since long. The Melamchi project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second in 2016.
On April 3, the deadline was extended to October.
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 of water per day to the Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.
Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited is the only organisation that supplies water to 2,700,000 people in the Valley. The daily demand of water in Kathmandu Valley stands at 370,000,000 litres, while daily supply stands at 110,000,000 litres.
A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.