Kathmandu, September 24
Melamchi Water Supply Project today said it would start supplying water to Kathmandu Valley from March 26 next year.
According to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, contractor CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna submitted a written commitment, stating that it will begin water supply to the Valley from March 26 next year. This is the first time that the Melamchi contractor has given a specific date for supplying water to Kathmandu Valley.
Deputy Executive Director at MWSDB Ramakanta Duwadi said, “Although the project is facing difficulties in tunnel excavation, the contractor has given water delivery date,” Duwadi told The Himalayan Times, adding,“The date has been fixed after calculating the time needed for tunnel breakthrough and preparation time of three months. So, if everything goes as planned, the project will start supplying water by the given time.”
Once the project completes, it will supply 170,000,000 litres of water per day to Kathmandu Valley. In the second phase, the project envisages supplying additional 340,000,000 litres of water per day to the Valley.
The contractor has already made it clear that after tunnel breakthrough it would take another three months to begin water supply to Kathmandu Valley. Weak rock formation has decelerated tunnel excavation work since long. The Melamchi project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second in 2016. On April 3, the deadline was extended to October 2017. For that the project had been given deadline of July 2017 for tunnel construction. The project has already missed that deadline.
Last week, the contractor promised to achieve tunnel breakthrough by December. Submitting a written commitment to MWSDB, the contractor company said it would complete digging of the Ambathan-Gyalthum stretch by November and Gyalthum-Sindhu stretch by the end of December.
The 27.5 km project tunnel comprises three stretches — Sundarijal-Sindhu, Sindhu-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Ambathan. The three stretches cover 9.5 km, 8 km and 9 km, respectively. Of the three adit tunnels, the longest Sundarijal-Sidhu stretch, which covers 9.5 km, was completed on December 26 last year.
Started on 21 December 2000, the MWSP 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.
Currently, Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited is the only organisation which 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 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.