Phewa watershed area residents fear flooding

Pokhara, February 15

Locals living in the Phewa watershed area are concerned that the dams being constructed by the provincial government to protect Phewa Lake might leave their settlements at risk of possible floods.

Gandaki Province government and Pokhara metropolis are building dams along with a sediment pond each in four rivers that supply water to the lake to prevent soil, stones and sand from accumulating in the lake.

The lake is reportedly receiving around 142,000 metric tonne of soil, stones and sand from those rivers, risking the lake from being buried. The check dam being built at Harpan in Ward No 23 of Pokhara is likely to inundate nearby settlements during monsoon season.

“Last year we were forced to leave our homes following inundation.

The dam construction would certainly worsen our situation,” said Raj Kumar BK, who lives on the bank of the Harpan River, main source of the lake.

Similar dams are also being built in Betayani, Lauruk and Khahare rivers. Another local resident Dan Bahadur BK said construction work is likely to displace 40 households in Nayabasti area.

Gandaki Province assembly member Rajiv Pahari, during his visit to construction areas, said safety of people likely to be affected by dam construction should be considered. “We cannot displace human settlements in the name of Phewa Lake protection.

There should be a proper mechanism to protect both the lake and settlements.”