TOPICS: Precious rainwater

Monsoon is here, water is everywhere, but we are thirsty! Every day when we read newspapers we come across one or other news item regarding water problems.

We feel sorry for such areas with water problems and curse our Government; and then turn to other pages. Nepal, second in terms of water sources in the world, is longing for water. Isn’t it an irony?

If we take the scenario of Kathmandu Valley, its population is growing at an alarming rate of 4.7% which is more than double the population growth rate of Nepal. The daily water demand for Kathmandu Valley is more than 360 million liters per day, whereas the supply is around 90 million liters per day in the dry season, and 140 million liters per day in the wet season.

Most of the people are very optimistic about the Melamchi water project hoping that it would meet their water demand, but the researched data state that although it would decrease the demand-supply gap to some extent, it would not cover the need completely, because in the coming years, the population and water demand of the Kathmandu Valley will be increasing to a large extent.

The primary source of water in most of the households of the Kathmandu Valley is tap-water.Tanker-water has stepped up to second spot, proving to be the primary water source in more than 14% of the households in the valley. We are bound to pay a premium of around 15% for tanker-water as compared to tap-water source.

If we talk about groundwater, its extraction started since 1970s in the Kathmandu Valley, and since then the rate of extraction has been increasing alarmingly. Groundwater experts state that if the water is pumped at this rate, there will be no groundwater at all after 100 years.

More than 80% of tap-water was found to be affected with e-coli bacteria making it unsuitable for drinking directly; but even then many people are doing so. The key problems identified in groundwater (from wells and boring) were iron and turbidity, making it unsuitable for drinking and cooking.

So there are many problems, but what is the solution? Rainwater is the purest form of water, and if collected properly after effective filtration, it could be used for our daily use and for cooking and drinking, thereby decreasing our dependency on present water-sources.The rainwater could also be effectively recharged in the ground to maintain groundwater level.