Minister for Water Supply Umakanta Chaudhary. (File Photo)
KATHMANDU: Minister for Water Supply Umakanta Chaudhary has said that the expected goals of access to basic drinking water and sanitation will be met under the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the government would ensure that the access to basic sanitation and drinking water would reach cent per cent by 2030.
Minister Chaudhary said so while replying to queries related to his ministry raised by lawmakers during deliberations on the Appropriation Bill, 2022, in the meeting of the House of Representatives.
According to him, the access to basic drinking water has reached 94 per cent and that of high and medium standard drinking water 32 per cent at present.
Seven per cent more access to be added to this by Melamchi Water Supply Project has not been included in this.
“The SDGs related to basic drinking water and sanitation would be met with the completion of the new and ongoing projects at the central level,” the Minister asserted.
He however said that the goal of reaching 50 per cent processed sewerage system is difficult to be achieved as it is only three per cent at present.
As he said, the plan, policy and human resources for sewerage is inadequate.
The plan for drinking water along with sanitation would be moved ahead in an integrated manner in the coming days and the required budget has been allocated for developing an integrated master plan for this in the next fiscal year.
The Water Supply Minister informed the parliament that although the water from the Melamchi River had been diverted for supply in Kathmandu in April as per the pre-determined schedule, it had to be stopped last month for the safety of the tunnel in view of the risk of flood during this monsoon.
The floods that hit on June 15 last year and on subsequent days had caused damage to the various structures of the Melamchi Water Supply Project as well as to the approach road to the project site.
Minister Chaudhary said the Project was restored and water from the Melamchi River in Sindhupalchowk district diverted to the Kathmandu Valley.
“Still the flood debris has accumulated in the upstream side of the Melamchi River posing risk to the project,” he said.
Minister Chaudhary informed that study is on regarding Sisnekhola of Makawanpur, Thosnekhola of Lalitpur and Mahadev Khola of Bhaktapur as an alternative to the water supply for Kathmandu Valley from Melamchi River.
According to him, 1250 kilometres of water supply pipe has been installed within the Ring Road area for distribution of water from the Melamchi Project and of this, test has been conducted on 400 kilometres of the water supply pipeline.
A programme has been formulated for distributing the Melamchi water in areas outside of the Ring Road in the next fiscal year.
As drinking water supply and sanitation is the common authority of the three tiers of the government, the federal government looks after big projects, the province governments the medium scale projects and the local governments the small projects.
He also shared that a programme has been included in the budget to provide water in the dry areas to prevent the displacement of people due to lack of drinking water.