SURKHET, Nov 26: The average daily demand for drinking water in Birendranagar, the capital of Karnali Province, is 15.4 million liters. However, the authorities have been unable to meet the demand, thanks to the growing population. The population of Birendranagar is estimated to be 181,500 and it has been rapidly increasing since the city was declared the permanent capital of the province.
Surkhet Upatyaka Khanepani Sanstha (SUKS), which has been supplying drinking water in Birendranagar, has been unable to provide water as per the demand. "In the dry season, the water flow in the Jhupra, Khari-Bori, Itram and Khorke rivers in the valley is hardly 99 liters per second," said Kulmani Devkota, chairperson of SUKS, adding, "Considering the ever-increasing population of the valley, we must find some alternative sources of drinking water."
He said that efforts were underway to identify new sources of drinking water in order to avoid water shortage in the dry season. Even now, 176 liters of water is required in the valley per second, however, SUKS can supply 149 liters only. It has been learnt that preparations are underway to bring water from the Bheri River to permanently solve the drinking water problem of the province.
But the project worth Rs. 2.9 billion will take five years to complete. The Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) will soon award the tender to bring water from Bheri. "We might have to find some temporary sources until we get water from Bheri," said SUKS chairperson Devkota. According to him, water supply in the valley is the responsibility of not only SUKS but also the local and provincial governments.
The Ratu River could be the new temporary source of drinking water for the valley, as stated by Devkota. "Fetching water from Ratu can be a good option but we need the co-operation of the local and provincial governments to make this happen," he said. So far, 15,958 water taps have been installed at the households in the valley by various private and government organizations. Paper works and other formalities have been completed to install 3,883 more taps.