Kalikot drinking water supply drive gains momentumWhile most households in Palata Rural Municipality now have access to running water, efforts are underway to supply water to other local units.
Mainadevi Bam is relieved that she no longer has to walk for hours to fetch water from the river.
“Until two months ago, we had to completely rely on the river for water,” said Bam, a 45-year-old resident of Kalchiuri village in Palata Rural Municipality’s ward 9. Water in the river and wells tends to be contaminated and in 2006, as many as 11 people in the village died of diarrhoea, according to Bam.
Now, with her village connected to the water supply network thanks to the local unit’s efforts, Bam is hopeful no such incident would ever repeat again.
Palata is one of Kalikot’s remotest local units, the reason why it remained without even the basic water supply infrastructure so far. That, however, has changed in the last two months, with water supplied not just to Kalchiuri but most of the wards in the local unit.
Of the nine wards in the rural municipality, five including ward 9 now have water taps with running water installed in every household; two wards have water supply in the public taps; while the other two wards are yet to be connected to a water supply network.
The Water, Irrigation and Energy Development Office, which is based in Manma, the district headquarters, has highly prioritised Palata Rural Municipality, Raskot Municipality, Narharinath Municipality, Tilagufa Municipality, Khadachakra Municipality and Shubhakali Rural Municipality, officials said.
The local units have initiated the installation of water taps in each household under the ‘One House, One Tap’ campaign, which has benefitted several remote settlements in the district.
In 2019, Palata, one of the local units hardest hit by water shortage, launched an ambitious project to bring water to households within three years of the first municipal meeting. But due to a lack of budget, only about 300 of the total 2800 households have been connected to the water supply network, data from the local unit show.
According to Bishnu Bahadur Rokaya, chairman of the Palata Rural Municipality, the previous local government spent Rs150 million on drinking water, but not all homes were supplied with running water. A few public taps were installed in ward 3, one of the driest wards of the rural municipality, while Thirpu village in ward 9 was among the first to receive water supply in every household, Rokaya said.
“Earlier, we had to wait for our turn at the village well or go to the river to fetch water,” said Aampura Rokaya, a resident of Bokchu village in Palata’s ward 3. “But now that we have running water in the public taps, our lives have become a lot easier.”
About Rs40 million has been allocated for drinking water projects in the rural municipality this fiscal year, according to Rokaya, the local unit chair.
Meanwhile, of the nine wards in Raskot Municipality, many households in wards 3, 6 and 8 did not have a drinking water supply. In the last two months, 300 households in ward 3 and 100 households in ward 6 have been connected to water supply. The local unit now aims to supply water to ward 8 as well. Dharmaraj Shahi, mayor of the municipality, said that despite the hilly topography of the area posing difficulties, efforts are underway to supply water to the ward.
Shahi said that his office has prepared a budget estimate of Rs 200 million to provide access to clean drinking water to every household in Raskot. “We aim to complete the project soon,” he said.