Melamchi water Supply being halted in Kathmandu Valley from today due to monsoon risks

Published On: June 21, 2024 10:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 21: Residents of Kathmandu Valley will be unable to receive Melamchi drinking water starting today. The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) has closed the main entrance of the tunnel due to increased flooding risks from the rising water flow in the Melamchi River during the monsoon season.

The MWSDB announced the closure of the main gate of the Melamchi water supply project tunnel at Ambathan in Sindhupalchok. The active monsoon in Bagmati province has heightened the risk of flooding, prompting this preventive measure.

As a result, valley residents will not have access to Melamchi's drinking water from today. Ratna Lamichhane, the executive director of the MWSDB, stated that Melamchi's water will only be sent to the valley once the monsoon subsides to avoid disaster risks during the rainy season.

Lamichhane explained that Melamchi water will be available to the valley residents again only after the monsoon risks have passed. To prevent potential damage to the project's headworks during the monsoon, the government shuts down the project at the start of the rainy season and reopens it afterward.

According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the monsoon typically enters Nepal on June 13 but arrived three days early this year. The monsoon is expected to end on October 2.

Lamichhane stated that heavy rainfall could muddy the Melamchi River, necessitating the project's closure to prevent mud from entering the system. The water retention structure at the project's main headworks prevents turbid water from flowing into the tunnel. However, damage to this structure means the project must halt operations whenever the river becomes too cloudy. Lamichhane clarified that the project has been stopped due to increased risks of river silting with the onset of heavier rains.

Meanwhile, Lamichhane mentioned an agreement with the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilization to bring water from the Dhap Dam under the Bagmati Improvement Project. This water will be distributed to valley residents during the Melamchi Water Supply Project's closure.

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