Authorities decide not to immediately shut down Melamchi water supply despite earlier preparations to do so from today

Published On: June 21, 2024 03:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 21: The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) has decided not to immediately shut down the main source of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project located in Ambathan, Sindhupalchowk, despite earlier preparations to halt operations from today. This decision comes in response to the inadequate water flow in the Melamchi River starting today, prompting the committee to exercise caution in distributing water to the designated areas.

With the monsoon commencing in Bagmati Province, the government had initially planned to suspend the project to safeguard against monsoon-related disasters. Ratna Lamichhane, executive director of MWSDB, mentioned that while the project was scheduled to halt on June 13, the decision was made to continue water supply until heavier rainfall necessitates a reassessment.

"In Bagmati Province, we had prepared to temporarily suspend the Melamchi project starting today due to the anticipated increase in water flow in the Melamchi River with the onset of the active monsoon, which poses a potential risk to the project," stated Lamichhane. "However, based on the current observations, there hasn't been a significant rise in water level in the river, and the water remains clean. Therefore, the immediate cessation of the project is not warranted at this time, and we will proceed cautiously with water distribution," he added.

Lamichhane noted that advisors and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had recommended suspending the Melamchi project temporarily to mitigate risks associated with the monsoon. "While we have been preparing to intermittently suspend the Melamchi project, operations have continued so far," he clarified. "We are still evaluating the situation and will decide promptly if the conditions necessitate halting the project to protect water distribution points from increased risks during heavy rainfall."

The MWSDB has devised plans to resume water supply from the Melamchi project only after the monsoon period, ensuring mitigation against potential damages from monsoon-related disasters. The government's strategy involves temporarily halting water supply at the start of the rainy season and resuming it once the monsoon subsides.

According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), the South Asian monsoon arrived in Nepal on June 13 this year, three days earlier than usual. Monsoon typically withdraws by October 2. At present, it is spread across the entire country except for Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces, as reported by the DHM.


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