NUWAKOT, Dec 17: The family of Bir Bahadur Tamang of Nagigadhi village of Likhu Rural Municipality – 3 is about to migrate to Aldanda, a few kilometers away from their original settlement owing to water woes. "Leaving the ancestral home is not a very good idea but there is no other way," laments Tamang.
After the water sources around dried up one after another, locals of Bir Bahadur's village were forced to think about migration. In the last one decade, dozens of water sources have disappeared, they report, while citing environmental degradation as a reason. Things got worse after the devastating earthquake of 2015.
"There were small rivers and ponds around. But they have dried up with time. We were managing with very little water in the later years and after the earthquake, things turned even worse," said Tamang.
The shaking of the earth when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country, followed by powerful aftershocks for almost a year, fell hard on the local water sources. Some settlements including Likhu village have taps. Although the government promised to provide drinking water while installing those taps a few years ago, water scarcity is a common problem in the entire district.
"Water is not enough here in any area in the district I think, but in our village, now you won't get even a drop. So we are now moving to another place," said Bir Bahadur.
The lack of water has hit hard even the cattle and crops. According to a farmer Manju Tamang, Nagigadhi is no more a suitable place to live. "We are farmers. We work hard in the fields to grow crops. We rear animals for a living. But when there is no water at all, all these works comes to a halt," she lamented. "We are wondering what can be done ahead. We have decided to move away from here, the way ahead is not easy," she added.
A total of 15 households are leaving their ancestral village for Aldanda where they have decided to relocate their settlement. But they are not sure whether their water woes will not deepen there, too. "We have been moving in an emergency. But even the new place is not that rich in water," Manju said. "Our village was like a heaven for everything else, but due to the lack of water it turned into a hell," she added.
If the water problem is solved, Manju and Bir Bahadur want to return to the same village. For this, they would be grateful if the government does something, they said. "Just because of the scarcity of water, we are leaving our village. If that problem is solved, we would love to continue living here," said Manju.
Meanwhile, Bhola Sedhai, chairperson of Nagigadhi village of Likhu Rural Municipality – 3 stated that the local government is aware of the severe water problem. "We are aware that water scarcity is getting worse. We have some plans to address the problem. We are working on that," he said. "We have considered boring and other means," he added.