Reconstruction of Melamchi Project unlikely anytime soon, govt looks for alternatives to supply water in Kathmandu Valley

Published On: November 15, 2021 03:27 PM NPT By: Himal Lamsal

KATHMANDU, Nov 15: Instead of rebuilding the much-talked-about Melamchi Drinking Water Project, which was damaged by the floods and landslides a few months ago, the government has put forward two new options. This has created confusion whether the project will be repaired anytime soon. 

The project has come to a standstill after the Melamchi water that was brought to the Kathmandu Valley after two decades of efforts was damaged in floods and landslides. The government is looking for alternatives at a time when questions are being raised if the project damaged by landslide and flood will be rebuilt.

Government officials do not talk openly about the damage caused to the Melamchi Drinking Water Project by the floods and when exactly the project will be reconstructed. But in recent days, the government has started working on two alternatives instead of bringing Melamchi water into the valley.

One of the two options is to bring water from Melamchi temporarily only in winter. In the second option, there are plans to dig new boreholes in 10 places in Kathmandu Valley. There are fears that the project may not be completed in a short time as the government has come up with a new alternative instead of immediate reconstruction of the Melamchi Project

Executive Director of the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, Basudev Paudyal, admitted that there is a long-term challenge to bring water to the Kathmandu Valley until the floods and landslides of the Melamchi River are controlled. “Until the floods and landslides in the catchment area of Melamchi River are permanently controlled, there will be problems in bringing water to the Kathmandu Valley in the long run,” he told Republica.

Paudyal said that preparations are underway to start work on the project headworks to bring water temporarily.

Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), which has started working for the second option, is preparing to supply 10 million liters of drinking water daily by digging boreholes in ten places in the Kathmandu Valley. KUKL is preparing to dig depot wells in 10 different places in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. “We have started digging underground boreholes to draw 10 million liters of water as per the regular work of KUKL,” said an official of KUKL. 

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