Valley sans underground water in 100 yrs

KATHMANDU: A study panel commissioned by the Supreme Court has warned of an acute shortage of underground water in the Kathmandu valley in the next 100 years.

Rapid urbanisation and huge increase in population in the Valley is threatening the early shortage of the underground water and is likely to cause a cave-in of the land in the Kathmandu Valley, the panel warned.

The report unveiled today said that on average, the level of water has been steadily gowing down by 2.5 per cent every year. In some places, situation is even more worrisome as the level of water has already been decreasing by 7 to 15 per cent, due to an unfettered access to use of the underground water.

The apex court had last year formed a five-member panel under the coordination of Jivan Lal Shrestha, Deputy Director of Department of Irrigation, while responding to a Public Interest Litigation filed by advocates Prakash Mani Sharma representing Pro Public.

The report has urged the government to strictly monitor the use of underground water and make an alternative arrangement for the use of water. The panel also recommended the government to protect certain specified areas for the use of underground water.

The report also suggested among other things to motivate private residences to use rainwater harvesting.

The report has underlined the need to make a regular monitoring of the water level of every tubewell and to study the environmental impact over the use of underground water.

The repor, however, is silent on the amount of underground water being used every day.

Seeking the apex court order against the use of underground water without getting permission from the government, the lawyers had moved the apex court six years ago. The petitioners claimed that such an illegal use of underground water would pose serious threat to the environment.

The apex court has asked the government authorities — the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Construction, the Drinking Water Corporation - to find out an alternative to underground water.

The petitioners have sought the apex court's order to shift big industries from the Kathmandu Valley to other locations and to prohibit the use of underground water.