Baglung, Sarlahi folks grapple with acute shortage of water

- PRAKASH BARAL, AMAN KOIRALA, Baglung / Sarlahi

May 27, 2014-

The Baglung district headquarters is reeling under an acute shortage of drinking water for the past many days due to the delay in the construction of a water supply project.

The project, which was started four years ago with a view to ease the supply of water to the town dwellers, ran into trouble owing to dispute among locals over sharing of water.

The water shortage has compelled local people to buy water as their taps ran dry. People who cannot afford to pay for water, however, are among the hardest hit as they are compelled to risk their health by drinking water from the nearby rivers. As a result, many local residents go to the rivers to take a bath or wash clothes.

Though the daily demand of water at Baglung Bazaar is 3.1 million litres, the local Drinking Water Committee currently supplies only one-third of the total demand. However, KB Rana, chairman of the Town Drinking Water and Sanitation Consumer Committee, said they are facing acute shortage of water due to the advent of dry season. “We are doing our best to ensure smooth supply of drinking water in the town. However, dilapidated water pipes constructed 35 years ago has been causing great difficulties,” he said.

Local people complain water is supplied to their taps only once in three days and that too momentarily. “Since mid-May, water is being supplied to our taps once in three to four days. As no efforts are being made to ensure smooth supply, we don’t have enough water for cooking, bathing or washing clothes,” said Laxmi Chhetri, a housewife from Baglung Municipality-2.

Funded jointly by the government, the Asian Development Bank and local consumers, the construction of the project is estimated to cost Rs 260 million.

Meanwhile, several villages in northern parts of Sarlahi district are also facing acute water shortage owing to rapid deforestation in the Chure region.

Villages like Gaurishankar, Kalinjore, Atraulauli, Netragunj, Hariwan, Sasapur and Lalbandi have been bearing the ill effects of deforestation and illegal extraction of sand and silts, which have in turn contributed to drying up of water sources causing severe water crisis in the area.

It is almost a year since local taps, wells as well as hand pumps dried up at Sukhepokhari in Hariwan Municipality, local people said. Shanti Dhungana, a local resident, said sources of water in the area are drying up fast and that the villagers have been left with no option other than buying from private suppliers.

Local residents in Parwanipur said taps at their homes have started to run dry after sources of dried up in the area. They said they are forced to queue up for hours at nearby public wells just to fetch a bucket of water.

Around 300 households in the area depend on a single public well to fulfil their water needs. But local people fear that the well may dry up soon as the water level is decreasing gradually.

“We will be left with no option but migrate elsewhere if the problem persists,” said Prakash Thapa, a local resident.

Published: 28-05-2014 08:48

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