Pre-Melamchi project in the offing to ease Valley water woes

KATHMANDU: Valley denizens waiting for the much-hyped Melamchi Water Project to address their water woes will get a respite, albeit temporarily, for the next two-and-half years. This was revealed during a programme organised here by the Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation. Technical manager Chandra Lal Nakarmi, Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), responsible for supplying water to the Kathmandu Valley, said if everything goes as planned, Valley residents will get their dry tap flowing for two and half years.

He said that if only the harried consumers' committees and the government extended full and unconditional support to them, the project will come into operation in the next 2.5 years. He was speaking at an interaction programme organised by an NGO here.

"More than 60 per cent of the project has been already completed at the cost of Rs 1.21 billion. We have now fallen through for want of an additional Rs 650 million. If the government provided us this amount, we would be able to supply additional 50 million litres of water in the Valley per day," Nakarmi argued.

Also in the pipeline, according to KUKL, are five more power generators within the next one month to ensure that Valley denizens are not deprived of water for consumption and sanitation even during the dry season and load-shedding.

Tilak Mohan Bhandari, Acting Manager at KUKL said plans are afoot to reduce the water leakage from the current 38 per cent to 30 per cent. "We are doing groundwork and a survey being done for maintenance of pipelines for smooth water supply," he said, adding that many of the pipelines are up to 70 years old and some are even 100 years old.

Admitting that Melamchi Water Project alone can not fill the yawning gap between demand and supply, Bhandari underlined the need of maximum utilisation of local sources of water and promotion of rainwater harvesting technology. According to a statistics, Kathmandu Valley is in dire need of about 230 million litres of water a day against 100 million litres KUKL is supplying. Valley has an ever-increasing scarcity of water.