Monsoon is here, water is everywhere, but we are thirsty!!!
Every day we open newspapers, we come across one or other news regarding water-problems. We feel sorry for such areas with water problems, curse Mother Nature and our Government; and then turn to other page. For a country like ours, standing among the top ones in terms of water-sources globally, water scarcity is a major issue. Isn’t it ironic?
If we take the scenario of Kathmandu Valley, its population is growing at an alarming rate of 4.7% which is more than double the population growth rate of Nepal. The daily water demand for Kathmandu Valley is more than 360 million liters per day, whereas the supply is around 90 million liters per day in dry season, and 140 million liters per day in wet season.
The primary source of water in most of the households of Kathmandu valley is tap-water (for more than 70% of households). As per recent data, tanker-water has stepped up to second spot, proving out to be primary water source in more than 14% of households in the valley. We are bound to pay a premium price of around 15% to tanker-water as compared to tap-water source.
If we talk about groundwater, its extraction started since 1970s in Kathmandu valley, and since then the rate of extraction has been increasing at an alarming rate. Groundwater experts state that if the water is pumped at the similar rate, there will be no groundwater at all after around 100 years.
Researched data shows that more than 80% of tap-water were found to be infected with e-coli bacteria making it unsuitable for drinking directly, but even then many people are drinking it directly. The key problem identified in groundwater (well and boring) were iron and turbidity, making it unsuitable for drinking and cooking.
Melamchi water project is the hope for many residents of the valley as their last resort for water crisis. But analysis of experts and researchers states that although it would decrease the demand-supply gap to some extent but could not cover the gap completely, because in coming years, the population and water demand of Kathmandu valley will be increasing by a large extent.
Fig: Demand Supply Gap of water in Kathmandu Valley
(MLD: Millions liters per day, MWSP: Melamchi Water Supply Project)
Source: (Hiroshi Ishidaira, Bhesh Raj Thapa, Narendra Man Shakya)
So there are many water-problems, but what is the solution?
Problem: Water, Solution: Rainwater
Rainwater is purest form of water, and if collected properly after effective filtration, it could be used for our daily purposes, even for cooking and drinking, thereby decreasing our dependency on present water-sources. The rainwater could also be effectively recharged in ground, to maintain groundwater level.
Remember that there is no alternative for water, we need to take action before it’s too late. Let us conserve every drop.
– Bipul Raj Manandhar