Villagers in Bagchaur reel under water shortageLocals are aware of the lockdown and the government’s directive to stay indoors but a shortage of drinking water means they have no choice but to go out in search.
Forty-year-old Purnima Dangi of Takura in Bagchaur Municipality, Salyan, walks for one and a half hours every day to fetch a vessel of water.
Dangi is aware of the ongoing nationwide lockdown and the government’s directive to stay indoors but a shortage of drinking water means she has no other choice but to go out in search of water.
“The Covid-19 pandemic seems like a smaller problem when compared to this water shortage that we’re facing,” said Dangi. “We have to rely on natural springs since we don’t have water supply at home.”
But the villagers’ troubles are only beginning, says Dangi, since the dry season has brought about a drought in the area. Dambar Dangi, another Bagchaur local, said “We have to start our journey early in the morning because if we reach late, then there won’t be enough water left. All the villagers frequent the springs and we all have to wait for at least two hours for our turn to fill our vessel.”
And the water springs are also not as clean as they used to be, says Dambar.
“Many people rely on a single spring, and this has greatly polluted the water sources. We have no option but to use murky water for drinking and daily household activities,” said Asmita Khatri, a local of Bagchaur.
There are 35 families living in Takura and every household has been reeling under water shortage for the last two decades. Jagat Bahadur Basnet, chief administrative officer at Bagchaur Municipality, said the local unit has been planning to construct a drinking water project in the village.
“We have asked the concerned Drinking Water and Sanitation Sub Division Office to help us in the construction of the drinking water project, but our requests have not been heard yet,” said Basnet.
According to the Drinking Water and Sanitation Sub Division Office in Salyan, more than three dozen settlements in the district face water shortage every winter and spring seasons. The data of the office showed that 4,000 households in the district are affected by the water shortage.
Prem Prasad Oli, chief at the Drinking Water and Sanitation Sub Division Office, said, “The drinking water project in the settlements requires a huge budget due to the difficult topography. We haven’t been able to execute the project because of a budget crunch. We have put in a request at the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management for the project,” said Oli. “Hopefully, we will be able to solve the water crisis in the villages soon.”