Melamchi water supply to be halted from Friday

Published On: June 20, 2024 12:55 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The water supply will be stopped to minimize possible risk of damage in existing structure by monsoon rain

KATHMANDU, June 20: Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) says it is halting water supply to the Kathmandu Valley from the Melamchi River from Friday.

The board said it took the decision citing the possible risk of damages to the tunnel structures by flood in the Melamchi River. With the onset of monsoon this year, the water level is reported to have increased massively in the river in the past few days.   

Ratna Lamicchane, executive director of the MWSDB, said they have to take the step to minimize possible damages in headworks of the water supply project. According to him, slurry might enter the tunnel along with rising water levels in the river.

The project started water supply from Melamchi River after it was inaugurated by the then President Bidya Devi Bhandari in April, 2021. However, this could not last long as the floods triggered by incessant rainfall and subsequent landslides inundated key structures of the project in June of the same year.

Landslides and flooding in the Melamchi River earlier had caused severe damage to the headworks at Ambathan as well as the sedimentation pond and other structures of the project, making it difficult to resume the water supply immediately. 

As a lesson learned, the MWSDB since the incident closes the main tunnel gate with the start of monsoon every year. The water supply is resumed only after the monsoon is over.  

The MWSDB is supposed to supply 170 million liters of water daily to the valley. The board however claimed that they are supplying around 200 million liters of water on a daily basis now.  

ADB providing grant of Rs 2 billion to rebuild structure of Melamchi Project

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing Nepal with grant assistance of over Rs 2 billion (US $19.75 million) to reconstruct the headworks of the Melamchi Water Supply Project.

The ADB has come up with the action at a time when the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) is preparing to construct new headworks at a new location.

The new headworks are supposed to be located one kilometer uphill from the existing location.  

After a flood in the Melamchi River in June 2021 devastated mainly the headworks of the water supply project, the government authority concerned and the ADB have largely been criticized for their ‘poor study’ over the feasibility of the project.  

According to the MWSDB, the construction of the new headworks might take four years for completion. The investment of around Rs 3 billion is estimated for the purpose. 

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