DAMAK, Nov 3: A shift from regular electricity to solar power has come as a relief for residents of Gauradaha in Jhapa district. Locals who had to pay a minimum of Rs 130 per month on electricity bills now have to pay Rs 105 only, thanks to the installation of a solar-powered water pump in their locality. Of the paid amount, Rs 5 will be used for the payment of the community water tap.
The solar powered pump was installed about three months ago by Gauradaha Drinking Water and Sanitation Consumers Committee with support from the provincial government. Prior to this the committee used electrical pumps to pump the water.
Dandiraj Ghimire, secretary of the committee, said the total electricity bill for the water pump has dropped from Rs 130,000 to Rs 70,000. He claimed it to be the largest drinking water project in the province using solar power. The 45.4 kilowatt solar panel was installed with an investment of Rs 8.87 million.
“It is used only during the daytime,” Ghimire said, “Using the 3 feet-long and 2 feet-wide solar panels, more than 45 kilowatt electricity is generated.” However, solar power is used only during the day. If the pump has to be used at night, it has to use regular electricity.
The committee that was established in 1995 has 2,350 members. The pump lifts 450,000 liter water every day that is stored and supplied through two tanks.
PLAN TO SELL WATER
According to Naresh Karki, vice-chairperson of the committee, the project has been planning to sell water to consumers. Water will be filtered, packaged, and sold, according to him.
“We are working on the legal procedure needed for it,” he said, “We are bringing the packaged water in the market very soon.” The committee has estimated the production cost of a liter of water to be Rs 1.33. A regular 1-liter water bottle is sold for Rs 20 in the market.