Melamchi likely to miss deadline for supplying water

Kathmandu, January 28

Though government authorities and the Melamchi Water Supply Project have assured Kathmandu denizens that the project will supply water by October 15, 2017, it is unlikely to meet the deadline.

According to the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, a portion of the area being excavated to build a tunnel is above weak rocks, decelerating the speed of excavation by 50 per cent. Deputy Executive Director at the board Ramakanta Duwadi said that the speed of excavation is now 12 metres per day, down from 25 metres per day in the past.

The board has expressed concern that this issue will mean that the project may not be completed on time.

"If other areas also are on weak rocks and the excavation has to be continued at the rate it is going now, we may not meet our target," Duwadi told The Himalayan Times, "We must complete the excavation by July 15, 2017, but it doesn’t seem likely at the moment."

The board said that it had not anticipated this hindrance, and the target was set by not keeping the possibility of weak rocks into consideration.

To be 7.5 km long, about 2.5 km of the Sindhu-Gyalthum tunnel is yet to be excavated. Similarly, about 2.6 km of the to-be 8.2 km long Gyalthum-Ambathan tunnel is yet to be constructed.

One tunnel of the project, from Sundarijal to Sidhu, had been completed one month ago, on December 28, 2016. The tunnel was 9.4 km long, the longest tunnels of the three.

Started in 21 December 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is a project assisted by the Asian Development Bank which aims to reduce the problems of drinking water scarcity in the Valley.

The project covers parts of Indrawati and Bagmati watersheds and is spread over five districts. Key water diversion facilities are located within Sindhupalchowk and Kavrepalanchowk districts, whereas the water treatment plant, water distribution centre, and the ancillary structures are located within Kathmandu Valley.

The Melamchi Project envisages to supply 510,000,000 litres of water per day to the Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke Rivers of Sindhupalchowk District.

In phase one, the project will supply 170,000,000 litres of water per day to the Valley.