Volunteers testing Valley water to check waterborne diseases

Kathmandu, July 19:

Two hundred volunteers have begun testing the quality of water being supplied by the Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC) to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases in the Kathmandu valley.

Equipped with testing kits, the young volunteers from Kathmandu, Lalitpuar, Thimi, Kirtipur and Bhaktapur will test the quality of piped water for a month. These kits will enable the volunteers to measure the amount of chlorine present in piped water distributed by the NWSC in their areas.

They will submit their reports to an internet-based survey on a daily basis. Based on the reports, the NWSC Lab will decide whether to add more chlorine or reduce the amount of chlorine in piped water distributed in different areas the next day. According to Rajesh Adhikari, a trainer from the Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO), “Chlorine is harmful if more or less than the required amount is used in water.” “Through small kits, the volunteers will get to find the amount of chlorine added to piped water,” Adhikari said.

The NWSC regularly adds chlorine to disinfect water it distributes, but due to poor condition of pipeline, chlorine concentration is high in some areas and low in other areas. Roshana Shakya, chief of the NWSC Central Lab, said, “This small help from enthusiastic volunteers will be instrumental in keeping waterborne epidemics at bay.”

“We are regularly adding chlorine, but we don’t know about water quality in different parts of the city. Due to lack of manpower, we have not been able to effectively monitor water quality. We will chlorinate water based on daily reports presented by the volunteers,” she said.

Prakash Amatya, executive director of the NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation, said that with support from the UN-HABITAT, several NGOs, including the Nepal Red Cross Society Kathmandu and the ENPHO, are launching the water-testing programme.