BIRENDRANAGAR, July 29: Amid gradually disappearing natural water sources and the lack of water supply through government installed taps, Surkhet locals have been facing an acute shortage of water. Water woes have made their life troublesome, they lament. However, even in this situation, this provincial capital of Karnali has not seen any slowdown or brake in the expansion of concrete settlements. The town's population grown has been constant.
Till 2008, Surkhet Upatyaka Khanepani Sanstha (SUKS) was able to manage to supply drinking water to 9,000 families of Birendranagar. At that time, the estimated population of the town was 52,000. Now, over 200,000 people are estimated to live here. And the supply system has not be been reviewed.
“The authorities have not been able to meet the demand. While new settlements are being coming up and the population is constantly growing, water facility has not been extended.” said Kulman Devkota, chairperson of SUKS. "In the current situation, we need a huge investment, planning to address the problem of water scarcity.”
According to him, drinking water is supplied inside the valley from Jhupra, Khari-Bori, Itram, and Khorke rivers.
Another official at SUKS, Chandra Devkota stated that efforts are underway to solve the problem and avoid shortage of drinking water. “Preparations of piping line to bring water from Bheri-Babai diversion is underway to permanently solve the water shortage in the province.” Tender announcement of this three-year project will be done in the upcoming year while the construction of three storage units, each with a capacity of 800 metric ton has reached final stage, according to Devkota.
SUKS is currently supplying water only once a day.
Water soon to be supplied from Bheri
As Birendranagar is facing water shortage, preparations are underway for the construction of a pipeline for water supply from the Bheri-Babai diversion as a solution. “Authorities are discussing the construction of the pipeline project which is estimated to require Rs 3 billion of investment. A tender for the project will probably be announced within this fiscal year,” said Chandra Devkota from SUKS.
A discussion is underway among the central and provincial authorities regarding the project which will solve the problem of water shortage in Birendranagar.