Melamchi may invite bigger problem: Expert

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 19:

The Melamchi Water Supply Project has been a pleasant dream for the government and donors as well as residents of the Valley. But, according to an expert, it will bring in waste-water problem. “Sufficient distribution of water will automatically increase the volume of waste water. And managing it is more difficult than bringing in water,” said Amar Neku, a water expert at the Water Aid Nepal. “The problem of waste water becomes more critical during the dry season.”

He said people’s habit of using water would change and more water would come out from toilets, which would ultimately go into rivers. “As soon as the water from Melamchi is distributed to the Kathmanduites, the river water will be further contaminated. Presently, both the sewer and rain water are mixed up, which, according to experts, causes problem in waste-water treatment. Neku said when small amount of waste water from toilets mixes up with the abundant water in the river after the Melamchi water arrives, it will either be diluted or will pollute the whole river which will be far more difficult to treat in future. A final draft report from Japan Bank for International Cooperation anticipates that households in the Valley will use more water once the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) gets completed and that it will probably emanate negative impacts on the environment in the region. “Due to rapid population increase and delay in waste-water management facilities the deterioration of river water quality in the Kathmandu Valley is becoming a serious problem,” the report has warned. It has estimated that management of waste-water alone is going to cost around $19 million.

The report ‘Special assistance for project implementation phase II’ on Melamchi Water Supply Project has pointed out that major waste-water management infrastructure in the Kathmandu Valley consists of waste-water treatment plants, pump stations, collector mains and interceptors but most of them are now either out of operation or only partially operational. It has recommended construction of new interceptors along both sides of Dhobikhola, Bishnumati and Bagmati rivers and rehabilitation of the Dhobighat and Kodku waste-water treatment plants as first priority improvement works.