Melamchi project starts tunnel testThe water was channelised successfully up to 800 metres inside the tunnel.
Melamchi Water Supply Project has started testing its tunnel by releasing water into it.
The water was released into the main tunnel in the intake area at Helambu Rural Municipality-1, Sindhupalchok on Monday. The water was channelised successfully up to 800 metres inside the tunnel linking it to Kathmandu.
Federal Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Mani Chandra Thapa formally initiated the tunnel testing from a control room of the project.
The much-hyped drinking water project had conducted a similar test in July last year. But the test resulted in a disaster when the high-velocity water burst open a control gate killing two employees.
A helicopter and an ambulance were kept on standby for Monday’s test. The test was scheduled the Ministry of Drinking Water and Melamchi Drinking Water Development Board completed the necessary technical preparations as per the recommendations of experts.
A group of four experts had studied the tunnel, intake structure and water control gate and submitted a report to the ministry and the board.
“The water has been released into the tunnel through a temporary dam built around 100 metres above the headworks site. Around 170 million litres of water will be supplied to Kathmandu once the water is released in full swing after the completion of the interim management,” said Tiresh Prasad Khatri, the executive director at the project. According to him, work in the headworks site is in the final stage.
According to Khatri, water is released into the tunnel at the rate of 260 litres per second, which is only three percent of the tunnel’s total capacity. Technicians estimate that it will take around 16 days to fill the 27km long tunnel.
“The test will continue for about four months. We will test the tunnel for two months and once everything is working smoothly, the remaining two months will be spent on testing the pipelines and other infrastructure components,” said Khatri.
Keeping in view the possible increase of water flow in Melamchi, Sindhu, Gyalthum and other streams, the local administration and the project office have urged the local residents not to go to the banks of the rivers and stay on high alert for a few days.
After initiating the tunnel testing, Minister Thapa said that the success of the much-awaited Melamchi Water Supply Project was linked with the future of the country.
“The completion of the national pride project will materialise the dream of prosperity in the country,” said Thapa.