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Water problem in Kathmandu Valley Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

By: Narayan Prasad Manandhar

Because of slackness in the supply of drinking water in Kathmandu Valley, valley residents have suffered for a long time. There is no water in the taps, even if it is there, it is not sufficient and it is also not certain when it will come. The Melamchi project is expected to solve this problem.

In recent times, due to interaction between His Majesty’s Government of Nepal and donor agencies, donor agencies have shown positive attitude about investing the Melamchi Project. It is informed that if this project starts in time, Melamchi will come in 6 years. The estimated cost of the project is 28 billion rupees (US $ 400 million). HMG's plans to relieve the people of Kathmandu valley during this six year period is not yet known.
To manage, sufficient drinking water supply in Kathmandu Valley in the short and long term, to reduce the pollution of the rivers, even to improve the environment of Kathmandu Valley the following measures should be applied:
As Kathmandu Valley lies in the active monsoon region, the present and past data show that there is sufficient rainfall in Kathmandu Valley during the rainy season. Because of lack of storing facilities, more than 90 percent rain water flows to the bay of Bengal. If we could store rain water by making hundreds of reservoirs in the areas of Kirtipur , Godawari, Changu Narayan, Gokarna, Sundarijal, Budhanilkantha, Tokha, Balaju of Kathmandu Valley and link these reservoirs to the drinking water distribution system of the valley to fulfil the demand of water in winter and summer seasons, this will highly contribute to improve water supply in the valley.
Rainwater can be preserved by constructing mini dams in the rivers of the valley on these places- Balaju, Tokha, Gokarna, Manohara, Bagmati, Shankhamul and Tekudovan. These river dams can store trillions of litres of rainwater, which will facilitate irrigation of millions of acres of lands in the bank of these rivers. Due to the availability of waters in rivers, the use of drinking water from the field will be reduced. Because of the waters in the river, even the agricultural products will increase in Kathmandu Valley.
If water can be preserved in such a way, there will be sufficient water in the river and even fishes and other aquatic animals can survive. These aquatic animals consume human waste and clean river water naturally. Because of the abundant water in the rivers, the temperature will also cool down. The environment of the Kathmandu Valley will positively change. With this, Kathmandu Valley can change into a beautiful city.
Because of the availability of water in rivers throughout the year, the pressure on underground water reserve will be less. The seepage of river water in the underground will help to increase the underground water level. This process will save Kathmandu Valley from crumbling. At present, it is estimated that 30 percent of the total amount of water taken out from the underground reservoirs is replaced by seepage of rain water. This wide gap, between the use and replacement of underground water reserve can lead to further crumbling of the valley.
Due to rise in the level of underground water, there will be perennial flow of water in the roar pump. It will certainly help to ease dependence on tap water. Moreover, it will also contribute in the perennial flow of water in the natural taps (Dhunge Dhara) of Kathmandu Valley.
If we could construct big underground reservoirs in public places like Tundikhel, Chhauni, Naxal etc, it will certainly contribute to the regular flow of waters in Sundhara near Dharahara and other natural taps. Due to the construction of underground reservoir in Tundikhel, the water level of Rani Pokhari will rise. The water of the underground reservoirs can be used even as an alternative source of water in times of need.
The government should give financial support to farmers of the valley to construct ponds in 5 percent of their land to collect water in the rainy season that can be used for the remaining 95 percent of the land in times of scarcity especially in the winter and summer. This will certainly help reduce the tendency to use drinking water in the field. This will also increase agricultural productivity in the valley. The government should extend these programmes throughout the country to solve the problems of water in winter and summer for irrigation or even for drinking purposes. This will certainly boost agricultural products in the country. If we can make ponds throughout the country, it will help to control flood and soil erosion in the rainy season. The construction of small ponds throughout the country will positively contribute to the environment while big dams adversely affect the environment.
It is estimated that the cost for developing these proposed infrastructure in Kathmandu Valley will be less than 10 percent of the cost for the presently proposed Melamchi drinking water project. If these suggestions could be implemented it will not only solve the drinking water problem in Kathmandu Valley, but even reduce pollution in rivers. The environment of Kathmandu valley will certainly improve.

Source: www.nepalnews.com.np

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