MWSP’s second water tunnel nears completion

Kathmandu, December 26

Melamchi Water Supply Project is all set to complete the Gyalthum-Ambathan stretch of the project’s waterway tunnel on December 31. Only 32 metres tunnel remains to be excavated along the stretch.

The total length of tunnel stretch is nine kilometres. The first 9.5 km Sundarijal-Sindhu stretch of the tunnel was completed on December 28, 2016. However, 522 metres tunnel still remains to be excavated along the Sindhu-Gyalthum stretch.

Deputy Executive Director at Melamchi Water Supply Development Board Bhoj Bikram Thapa said the project would achieve breakthrough although an official announcement was yet to be made. “There is no doubt that work on the Gyaltuhum-Ambathan stretch would be completed by the final day of 2017.”

Executive Director at the MWSDB Ram Chandra Devkota expressed happiness with work on the tunnel excavation drawing closer to completion. “Despite hurdles posed by weak rocks, we have reached closer to breakthrough,” he said and added that the remaining part of Sindhu-Gyalthum tunnel stretch will also be completed by January.

In September, Melamchi contractor CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna had pledged to complete the Gyalthum-Ambathan tunnel stretch by November and Sindhu-Gyalthum stretch by December. But due to festive holidays, it extended the deadline by a month. Similarly, it had also promised to start supplying water from March 26.

The Melamchi Project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second deadline in 2016. On April 3 this year, the deadline was extended to October 2017. However, the project could not meet even its third deadline.  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 (170,000,000 MLD in first phase and remaining 340,000,000 MLD in second phase) of water per day to the Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.

The daily demand of water in Kathmandu Valley stands at 370,000,000 litres, while daily supply stands at around 110,000,000 litres. According to Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited, of the 110,000,000 litres of water supplied per day to Kathmandu Valley, more than 30 per cent of water leaks through pipelines laid during the Rana regime.

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