Water crisis hits hard residents of Birgunj Metropolis


July 23, 2023


Water crisis hits hard residents of Birgunj Metropolis

Ghantaghar, Birgunj/File Photo for Representation

BIRGUNJ: Ladu Prasad Sah of Birgunj Metropolitan City-12 hardly collected five litres of water after struggling for around three hours in a morning recently.

Sah, who stepped out of the house at around 4 am that morning in search of water reached home after three hours with five litres water.

He went around five kilometers searching for water and hardly collected water from public tube wells and taps in the road.

“The tube well installed in the house is running dry without rainfall. I went out of the house with an empty bucket at 4 am. It took me hours to collect just five litres of water from various tube wells and taps in the road,” he shared of his hardship in collecting just five litres water for his entire family.

He is worried about how to manage household chores as the water he has collected is not a lasting solution for himself and his family.

It requires around 100 to 150 litres of water a day for his five-member family.

“We can cook rice with the water I have collected. How to manage water for other purposes like drinking, washing utensils and taking a bath,” he said.

Rajesh Gupta of Birgunj-6 regularly wakes up at 5 am, takes a bath and conducts a puja before going to work.

But nowadays, there is a break in his regular work without water.

“It has been four days since I have taken a bath. The tube well installed in the house is running dry without water. We are hardly managing water for regular household chores by bringing water from public taps,” he said.

Similarly, Sumitra Devi of Birgunj-14 is struggling to manage water for cooking rice and doing other household chores for her 10-member family.

“It requires water to cook rice. But the tube well in the house does not run water. I am worried about feeding my family and washing the utensils,” she complained.

Birgunj Metropolitan City is reeling under acute shortage of water as water sources have dried up without rainfall for long.

Although water crisis is a perennial problem when summer starts, the problem is so much intense this year due to a long spell of drought, said a local Shankar Sah Kalwar.

A long spell of drought has struck as the heat up to 45 degrees Celcius has taken its toll, said local people.

Water shortage has been intense in villages including Chhapakaiya, Minabazaar, Bhishwa, Nagawa, Murli, Tejastha Tole, Pratima Chowk, Brahma Chowk and Bhansar, as the hand pumps installed in the houses are drying up.

Extreme heat has caused the hand pumps to dry up, said Maya Lama of Birgunj metropolis-15, adding that the local people have been hit hard with water shortage.

In the face of the water shortage, the metropolis has taken initiatives to manage water.

It has supplied water by tanker to its consumers after water sources have started drying up without rains.

Underground water is pumped into tanks using electric motors, and the pumped water is being distributed to the residents of the metropolis, said the Metropolitan City chief administrative officer Laxmi Prasad Paudel.

“The metropolis is distributing tanker water to the consumers every day. There is a high demand for water in the metropolis. But we lack sufficient water to distribute. We are doing best to reach out to every ward and distribute tanker water,” he said.

Additionally to resolve the water crisis, the metropolis is coordinating with the Nepal Khanepani Sansthan and the water supply and sanitation division office, he said.

In view of the water problem, the metropolitan city has banned drilling deep borehole for pumping water without meeting the set standards.

“It has been found that drilling deep boreholes for pumping water illegally is taking place. Under water level is decreasing without rainfall for long. In this situation, drilling deep boreholes rampantly further increases water crisis. So, we have issued a notice against these activities,” he said.

Doing or allowing these activities is punishable, he said. The metropolis has come up with a plan to install public taps in its each ward in view of the water crisis, said engineer Niran Maharjan, chief of the Nepal Khanepani Sansthan.

“An agreement has been reached with the Metropolitan City to install public taps. As per the agreement, the process of forming a consumer committee has started to install taps in each ward. We will carry out this project soon, and distribute water,” he said.

Following the water crisis in Birgunj and its surrounding areas, the House of Representatives member Pradip Yadav, who won the erstwhile election from Parsa constituency 1, drew the attention of the government to the problem.

Yadav, also chief whip of the Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal, reached Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at the latter’s office in Singha Durbar, and draw his attention to the water crisis in Birgunj.

Following the water crisis, the residents of the metropolis have visited the Khanepani Sansthan office demanding water and the installation of water taps in their houses.

Around 90 people visited the Nepal Khanepani Sansthan to receive water taps on a daily basis, said Maharjan.

“There is an increasing number of people visiting the office to receive water taps after water sources are drying up due to lack of rainfall,” he said.

Although the metropolis has a total 140,000 population, it is providing water to its 8,100 consumers on a regular basis.

The metropolis is distributing around 6.5 million litres water to the consumers on a daily basis, said Maharjan.

The Metropolitan City lacks an exact data of what amount of water is in demand in the city.

Raju Bishwokarma/RSS