Water shortage adds to hardship of quake survivors

- Post District Bureau, Kathmandu

Apr 24, 2016-

“We survived the devastating earthquake last year but we fear we may now die due to the lack of water,” said Keshav Nepal of Chandenimandan VDC-5 in Kavre. He feels that there is no alternative to leaving the settlement if the water crisis continues.

Availability of water at local sources decreased significantly in the worst-hit districts after the disaster in April last year. Earthquake survivors are experiencing difficulties in collecting drinking water as its sources have been scarce in Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts. A long period of drought has compounded the problem. Villagers are compelled to walk long distances to fetch water. Sangita Shrestha of Chandenimandan-9, Kavre, says she gets up at 1 or 2am every night to get a pitcher of water. “We spend nearly four hours to fill one gagri of water,” she added. The villagers frequent neighbouring Mahadevsthan and Jaishithok VDCs for water.

“We somehow managed to stay in the temporary settlement for the past one year. Now we have no alternative but to leave the settlement for want of water,” said Biras Lama, another Chandeni-mandan local.  

Due to the shortage of water, local farmers have started selling their cattle. “I sold a cow as it was difficult to give it water,” said another local resident. Some of the villagers buy water supplied by tankers.

According to the Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office in Kavre, Chandenimandan, Mahadev-sthan, Jyamdi, Dapcha, Koshipari, Mangaltar and Nala VDCs are among the dry areas in the district. 

The office said around 600 water supply schemes were damaged in the earthquakes in April and May last year, destroying property worth about Rs710 million in the district. 

The problem exists in Rasuwa district too. The sub-division office of drinking water and sanitation informed that about 35 percent sources of water dried up completely and water availability halved in the remaining sources. Thulokharka, Ramche, Samarthali, Dhaibung, Laharepauwa, Dandagaun and Thulogaun villages are worst hit by the scarcity.

Our correspondent in Sindhupalchok said that a huge number of water sources dried up, affecting earthquake survivors across the district. According to the division office, around 150 sources have vanished. 

Dolakha district, which was greatly affected during the May 12 aftershock, has also been reeling due to a water crunch.

(With inputs from our local correspondents)

Published: 24-04-2016 08:55

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