Water vessels kept at a public water tap which supplies water once in two days in Rolpa.
BUTUWAL, May 4: With the arrival of summer, water crisis in Province 5 has become worse. Not just the rural areas but also the towns in Rolpa, Dang, Rupandehi and Kapilbastu lack water. Locals lament that their right to access clean drinking water is limited just in paper.
“Water crisis here is not a new issue. But sadly, this did not change even after the formation of local governments in the federal republic,” noted Bipin Subedi, a local hotelier of Holeri in Rolpa.
“The situation is so severe that we have to remain awake the whole night to fill one bucket of water. Water taps are there for just as showpieces.”
According to Subedi, the government supplies water through the taps for a short duration in an interval of two days. And sometimes, even that is not guaranteed.
“They release water for around 16 minutes after every two days. And the timing is not accurate. In 16 minutes, you can hardly fill two buckets as the force is not strong,” Subedi said. “When water is supplied at night, we cannot sleep soundly fearing that we might miss our turn.”
Due to the severe crisis of water, people in many places across the province do not even consider using water for anything else than drinking. This has badly affected sanitation of Holeri market place. “The situation is so pathetic in the market area, let alone other places. Rural parts are facing even severe water crisis.”
According to Nandalal Khatri, another local of Holeri, even after one and a half years since the formation of the local government, it has not taken step to solve the problem. People had not expected this level of irresponsibility from the local representatives.
“Water crisis still persists. Everyone was hopeful that the problem would be addressed once the local government comes into existence,” said Khatri.
On top of that, the distribution of water is not proportionate.
“Some areas are getting more water than others. The distribution is not proportionate. An immediate relief could be balancing it,” he remarked.
Drinking Water Consumers Committee, Rolpa, expresses its helplessness. Hopefully, something about it could be done by next year, says Gobinda Pun, chairperson of the committee.
Chandan River Drinking Water Project would supply water from next summer, he assumed.
“Maybe, it will take one more year for the drinking water project to come into operation. That will solve the water crisis in Holeri and nearby areas,” he said. The project was initiated in 2013.
Meanwhile, Balaram Budha, chairperson of Runtigadhi Rural Municipality, assured that the community forest committees would be approached for cooperation.
“For now, what can be done is to take help from the community forest users’ groups. Their water sources could be used,” he said.
Butuwal is facing crisis of 14 million liters of water every day, according to the Drinking Water Corporation, Butwal. Locals lament that this has badly affected their health and hygiene and also caused inconvenience.
“Water crisis in here is getting more severe every year. We are extremely worried and this might force us to migrate,” said Punam Rajali, a local of Butwal. “When it rains heavily in Palpa, our water taps provide muddy water. We don’t have reliable water sources,” she added.
Another local of Butwal, Krishna Gautam, informed that Butwal has been facing water crisis since the last two decades. “We are living without sufficient water since two decades, and it is now getting more and more problematic.”
Gautam complained that Butuwal Sub Metropolis, local representatives or provincial lawmakers have not taken the matter seriously. “Had they taken due interest, the situation would have been different now. It has already been one and half years since the country got restructured.”
Even though addressing water crisis was one of the main agendas of the political parties during the local level election, not much has been done in this regard. This has left people quite frustrated. According to Nishal Gaire, who lives in a rented apartment in Tansen, Palpa, for studies, he has to spare enough time for water management. “I don’t know what will happen in the long run. My biggest trouble is fetching water,” he said.
Fast drying water sources and poor water management by the government amid ever-increasing concrete buildings have posed a threat to the normal life in the areas, according to Punya Prasad Subedi, a businessperson from Tansen.
“We have failed to draw the attention of the government over this issue. But the problem is extremely serious. Water sources are drying up and concrete buildings are still mushrooming in towns. People are drinking water with high level of arsenic. Everything is going wrong.”