Valley stone spouts drying up as conservation wanes

KATHMANDU: Alarmed by the drying up of stone spouts, experts at a programme today called for the conservation of the traditional stone spouts which have been a source of water for the urban poor.

Of the total of 61 such natural stone spouts, ten have already dried out. Lalitpur alone has 39 of them, many of them on the verge of drying, it was informed.

Tri Ratna Manandhar, programme officer, NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation, said they are working relentlessly for preserving the cultural values of these natural fountains by engaging NGOs and INGOs but said without strict regulations, including an immediate ban on unauthorised tapping of underground water; it would be futile to stop the present trend.

He also underlined the need to draft a policy on preserving the cultural values of the stone spouts. Addressing an interaction programme, he said, “The community users should also show their serious concerns toward the depleting spouts.” He further

said that the government should allocate a budget for their

preservation and keep a record of such spouts.

During the programme, it was also revealed that ten per cent of the population in the Kathmandu Valley is directly relying on the stone spouts as source of water. But the rapidly rising population in the face of unrestrained and haphazard construction of dug-wells along the source of stone spouts is threatening the very existence of the spouts, they said.

Mandakini Shrestha, chief Archaeology Officer at the Department of Archaeology, said that the government is committed to preserving such stone spouts as they have cultural values. She assured that the government is leaving no stone unturned to preserve the rich cultural values of the spouts.