Government to bring integrated act to regulate water supplyThe government is preparing an integrated umbrella act to regulate the water supply and sanitation all over the country.
The government is preparing an integrated umbrella act to regulate the water supply and sanitation all over the country.
After three rounds of discussions, the Ministry of Water Supply is formulating a final draft of Drinking Water and Sanitation Bill which will ensure citizens’ fundamental right to clean drinking water.
Article 35(4) in the fundamental rights section of the constitution states that every citizen shall have the right to access clean drinking water and sanitation.
“The integrated bill to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation would be ready within a few days,” said Bina Magar, minister of water supply. This draft will need to be approved by the federal parliament within September 18.
The bill mainly focuses on two aspects of drinking water - water security and water quality. It also has provisions for sewerage management.
Before the bill, no laws were there to regulate the supply of safe drinking water to the citizens.
According to Gopal Bhattarai, section officer at the water supply and sanitation ministry, the new law will bring the existing businesses of bottled mineral water and water distribution via tankers under the purview of the ministry. He also added that the new law will ensure the consumers get compensated in case of illness after the consumption of water. Once the law comes into effect, Bhattarai claims it would distribute water via tankers to the consumers if the state fails to supply directly to their homes. The consumers need not pay the bill in case of interruption of water supply, unlike the current regulation where the consumers must pay the water bill even if the supply is irregular.
The bill has included all major aspects of ensuring safe drinking water besides setting up an independent Tariff Fixation Commission to replace the existing one.
The main features of the existing regulation include the provision of forming Drinking Water User Associations along with the registration procedures; licensing the use of drinking water; controlling of water pollution and maintenance of quality standards for drinking water.