Melamchi water will put pressure on Kathmandu's sewage system

Published On: February 21, 2017 01:10 AM NPT By: Rudra Pangeni  | @rudrapang

KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Melamchi water is expected to come to Kathmandu Valley this October. But the government has not made any concrete plan for proper management of surge in wastewater in the Valley.

Worse is, it is still not clear which government agency is responsible for building sewage line for management of wastewater.

Though there sewage lines of varied capacity exist in the Valley, nobody knows their carrying capacity. Experts fear of dire consequences if the issue is not handled effectively.

“There is no entity to manage sewage lines. This carelessness may create havoc in different parts of the Valley, particularly in new settlements that do not have proper sewage lines yet,” Kishor Kumar Shakya, chairman of High-Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilization, said. 

The committee is laying out sewer lines along either side of Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers to college wastewater. It is also building a treatment plant at Dhobighat to treat wastewater brought by the sewer lines. Similarly, work to build sewer lines on both sides of Manohara and Hanumante rivers, and a treatment plant is also underway. 

“Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) could be an appropriate agency to work on it,” Shakya said, adding: “The government should enhance its capacity and authorize it to look after management of wastewater.”

KUKL General Manager Mahesh Bhattarai admitted that low-lying areas that have seen bottleneck in drainage system will suffer more blockage and inundation once the Melamchi water arrives. 

Such blockage can lead to inundation during monsoon, creating traffic obstruction in many parts of the Valley. Places like Jamal, Putalisadak and Maitidevi have already been facing blockage in sewage system during monsoon.

With an aim to draw the attention of authorities concerned toward the issue, the high-powered committee is planning to hold a meeting with different government agencies and concerned stakeholders. 

At present, three different agencies -- Department of Roads (DoR), local bodies and KUKL -- have been building drainage system. Local bodies provide 70 percent of the total cost if local communities arrange 30 percent of the cost. However, there is no uniformity in terms of design and capacity of these systems. 

Bhattarai said it was high time a master plan is prepared for development of drainage system in the Valley. “Sewer lines should be designed considering water consumption in a certain locality as well as average rainfall that it receives,” added Bhattarai. 

Water Supply and Sanitation Secretary Bhim Prasad Upadhyaya admitted that the unplanned sewer lines, mostly built by local bodies, may not withstand the pressure once Melamchi water comes to the Valley.

The Melamchi Water Supply Project aims to supply 136 liters per person per day.

“Increased water consumption will generate more wastewater,” Upadhyaya. 

Experts say drainage system will cost thrice the cost of the Melamchi Water Supply Project as drainage system will have treatment plant which consumes huge amount of electricity. 

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