Government of Nepal has accorded a high priority to the task of providing safe and adequate drinking water in an equitable manner to the people of Kathmandu Valley. Residents of Kathmandu valley have been suffering from the hardship caused due to lack of adequate and safe drinking water for a long time. The Government started Melamchi Water Supply Project in December 2000, to solve the chronic drinking water shortage in valley on a sustainable manner.
Melamchi Project envisages 510 MLD water to Kathmandu Valley from Melamchi, Yangri and Larke Rivers of Sindhupalchowk District. Phase 1 of the project will bring in 170 MLD by September 2017, when the 27.5 Km diversion tunnel from Melamchi to Sundarijal is completed. The water available from this project will be treated at Sundarijal- Water Treatment Plant (WTP) which is currently under construction. As per Government plan, the treated water will be supplied to the nine Service Reservoir Tanks (SRT), located at different places of Valley through Bulk Distribution System (BDS). These reservoirs will supply water to household via entirely new distribution system called Distribution Improvement Improvement (DNI).
Initially, the Melamchi Water Supply Project was designed to implement all of these activities under the umbrella of the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, but later in February 2008, the project was divided into Subprojects 1 & 2 for its efficient implementation.
Responsibility to implement Subproject 1, includes construction of 510 MLD capacity Melamchi Tunnel and construction of a 170 MLD Water Treatment Plant (WTP) at Sundarijal has been assigned to the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDD). Melamchi Tunnel works was delayed when the first contract had to be terminated because of poor performance and in January 2014, tunnel works was resumed after re-tendering through ADB assistance (Loan 1820-NEP). The re-scheduled date of completion of this $317.3 million contract is 16 April 2016. However, due to devastating earthquake of 15 April 2015 and other reasons, the construction work has been delayed and now the project is expecting to complete the construction work within September 2017. As of date about 23735.4 meter (19 april 2017) of total 27.5 Km tunnel is completed. The construction of Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is underway with support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and significant progress achived till this date.
Scope of Sub-Project 2, being implemented by the Project Implementation Directorate (PID) of Kathmandu Upatayaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) includes Water Supply works and Sewerage works through ADB assistance. Water supply works includes construction of about 9 service reservoirs at various locations in the Valley (Mahankalchaur, Bansbari, Paani Pokhari, Balaju, Khumaltar, Arubari, Tigni, Katunje and Kritipur), construction of a Bulk Distribution System (BDS) pipelines to supply water from Sundarijal WTP to the service reservoirs. Distribution Network Improvement (DNI) works is designed to supply water to every household through laying of about 670 kms pipe line network. Similarly, about 540 km. sewerage network will be upgraded/established and six Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in six different locations will be constructed/upgraded.
Lack of adequate and reliable water sources, in-equitable distribution and leakage in pipelines are the major problems in the existing system has created hardship situation to valley residents. On one hand, it has not been possible to meet the water demand of valley due to lack of sufficient water sources, and on the other, available water cannot be evenly distributed to households in the absence of a systematically laid out distribution network that supports to achieve equitable distribution of water supply. As a result, few areas in the valley receive surplus water, where as in large area of valley, water supply service is not satistisfactory. The existing supply network established during Rana Regime has worn out causing leakage in the system resulting problem in water delivery.
Melamchi water project, DNI works and other associated reforms in KUKL are expected to appropriately address the above issues and meet the water demand of Valley for a long term on sustainable basis.