13 pc citizens have no access to drinking waterAs the government braces up to ensure safe drinking water to all its citizens drafting a new integrated law, around 13 percent of the country’s population remains without access to basic drinking water.
As the government braces up to ensure safe drinking water to all its citizens drafting a new integrated law, around 13 percent of the country’s population remains without access to basic drinking water.
The coverage of drinking water supply has expanded to 87 percent of the total population recently. Basic drinking water is defined as the water directly supplied to consumers from sources that could be risky at times.
Citizens’ access to processed and safe water is far from satisfactory. According to the Ministry of Water Supply, only 19 percent of the total population has access to processed and safe drinking water. This has happened as the government was more focussed on expanding water supply coverage earlier.
Province 5 is ahead of all other provinces in the country in providing basic drinking water. Karnali lies at the bottom. The ministry’s data shows 98.97 percent of the population in Province 5 has access to basic drinking water. In Karnali Province, 70.45 percent of the population has access to basic drinking water facility.
The ministry’s record shows 51.95 percent of population receives basic drinking water supplied via pipelines while 21.58 percent receive water from personal tube wells.
Officials at Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) said they have now concentrate more on providing processed drinking water as 80 percent of the communicable diseases in Nepal are attributed to contaminated water and poor sanitation. The Department of Health Services’ Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Head Dr Hemanta Ojha said, “The patients we treat have health issue mostly related to drinking unsafe water. We are only the first response party.”
Earlier in June this year, contaminated water affected more than 1,200 people in Dang District.
In 2009, many people died because of water-borne diseases in Jajarkot. The epidemic spread to nine hilly districts starting from Jajarkot, killing more than 200 people and affecting around 100,000 families in 100 Village Development Committees (VDCs).
According to Ministry officials, the reasons for bacterial contamination of water are inadequate protection of water sources and waterways, open defecation at sources and poor maintenance led to cross leakage of sewers water pipes in urban areas.
Water Supply Ministry official Gopal Bhattarai said, “The new law has provisions to fix these problems. The bill has separate provisions to conserve water sources.”