Kathmandu, August 4
Although it is widely believed that the Melamchi Water Supply Project would meet the water demand in the Kathmandu Valley, concerned agencies are worried that the demand would increase considerably and beyond the project’s projected capacity by 2025.
According to Project Implementation Directorate of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited, the Melamchi water supply project will start supplying 170 million litres of water per day in the first phase after one-and-a-half years.
Currently, an average of 90 million liters of water is supplied to the Valley per day, and with Melamchi, the total projected supply is estimated to be 260 million litres per day, although the current demand stands at around 400 million litres per day.
It may take at least another six years to increase the project’s supply through water from the Yangri and Larke rivers.
“Water demand in the Valley will likely increase beyond the project’s full supply capacity of around 510 million litres of water per day, which is after adding water from the Yangri and Larke rivers by eight years,” Anil Bhadra Khanal, deputy project director at PID said.
“We will need to use the existing water sources of KUKL if the demands are not met,” he added.
Khanal said the changing political and socio-economic scenario may affect the the project.
According to estimates, the population of Kathmandu Valley currently stands at around 4 million. With increasing population, the total demand of water in the Valley has reached up to 400 million litres per day, whereas the existing supply by KUKL is 90 million to 140 million litres per day.
Executive Director of the project Ghanashyam Bhattarai said second phase of construction will begin after completion of the first phase by September 2017.
There are at least 200,000 taps across the Valley that supply water once in 9 to 13 days under the Kathmandu Valley Drinking Water Limited.
Started in 21 December, 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is assisted by the Asian Development Bank, which aims to improve water supply situation in the Kathmandu Valley.
The project covers a part of Indrawati and Bagmati watershed and includes areas of five districts. The key water diversion facilities are located in Sindhupalchowk and Kavrepalanchowk districts, whereas the water treatment plant, water distribution and ancillary structures are located in the Kathmandu Valley.
The ambitious Melamchi water project was envisioned in the late 1990s, and the first agreement for its construction was signed in 2003 with funds from various donors and development partners.
The project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2007.
A version of this article appears in print on August 05, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.