SURKHET, April 18: Surkhet valley is reeling under acute drinking water shortage as major water sources in the area are drying up because of prolonged draught.
The valley demands 12.7 million liters of drinking water per day, but the Jhupra Drinking Water and Sanitation Consumers Organization (JDWSCO) is able to supply just 5.6 million liters.
“Water sources have started drying up, so we have not been able to supply enough water to the consumers,” said Kulmani Devkota, chairperson of JDWSCO. “If the situation continues, it will be difficult for us to distribute water even once a week.”
According to consumers, the organization currently supplies water twice a week. “We don't even know on which day and at what time water is supplied,” said Tilak Ram Adhikari, a consumer. “Housewives are the hardest-hit.”
JDWSCO had published a notice on March 7, 2007, stating water would be supplied once in 36 hours. But it has not been able to stick to the schedule. “It has been more than a month since this crisis began, but the organization has not informed us anything about it,” said Adhikari.
JDWSCO fetches water from Jhupra and Itram rivers, among others. And since these sources are drying up almost every day, it's difficult for JDWSCO to publish a notice about the supply schedule, according to its chairperson Devkota.
He also blamed politicking of the issue for the problem. JDWSCO had started fetching water from Khari and Bori rivers three years ago. But a few political parties, expressing strong reservations over the move, staged demonstrations, delaying the project. “Had the project moved ahead smoothly, this situation would have risen,” said Devkota.
He, however, expressed hope the problem would be solved once the Khari and Bori project is completed. “The locals will get water supply at the rate of 35 liter per second even if there's drought,” he said, adding the project will be completed within a month.