Melamchi project set to miss Oct deadline

Kathmandu, June 27

The Melamchi Water Supply Project has said it will not be able to supply water to Kathmandu Valley by the third deadline of October.

“We still have 2,800 metres of tunnel to excavate. We must finish the excavation work within a month to meet the deadline, which is impossible given the average daily excavation rate of 18 metres.”

Deputy Executive Director of Melamchi Water Supply Development Board Ramakanta Duwadi told The Himalayan Times, “We cannot give an exact date, but water supply will begin a few months after the given deadline.”

The Melamchi project’s second deadline expired in 2016. On April 3 that year, the deadline was extended to October 2017. If the project fails to meet its third deadline, Kathmandu denizens will have to wait for a few more months to get Melamchi water.

According to project officials, it will take three months to complete the project after tunnel breakthrough. “Only if there is a miracle will the project be able to meet the deadline,” Duwadi said, adding, “We are, however, trying to speed up tunnel construction.”  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 of water per day to the Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.

Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited is the only organisation that supplies water to 2,700,000 people in the Valley.

The daily demand of water in Kathmandu Valley stands at 370,000,000 litres, while daily supply stands at 110,000,000 litres. Of the 110,000,000 litres of water supplied per day, KUKL admitted that 30 to 40 per cent of water leaks through pipelines laid during the Rana regime.

KUKL collects 65 per cent of its water from the surface and 35 per cent from underground. It has 76 deep tube wells and 17 water tankers. Private tankers supply 30,000,000 litres of water to the Valley every day.

Meanwhile, MWSDB said the test run of Sundarijal-based water treatment plant had been scheduled for the first week of August. Sundarijal-based plant has a capacity of treating 85 million litres of water per day.

Two Indian companies —VA Tech Wabag Ltd and Pratibha Industries Ltd — are working to conduct test run of the water treatment plant. PIL is the contractor for Sundarijal-based plant, whereas VA Tech Wabag Ltd is the contractor for expansion of the Guheshwori-based treatment plant.