By Drishti Silwal
The World Water Day was observed on March 22 organizing various programs and activities across the country. The Ministry of Water Supply, Nepal government organized an event at Sundarijal to mark the significance of the day. The program was conducted successfully with the main motto “Let’s protect and enhance groundwater resources”. The program was inaugurated by Umakanta Chaudhary, Minister for Water Supply.
The government is trying to implement all the measures to ensure the distribution of pure drinking water with proper purification and sanitation as mentioned in the constitution of Nepal, informed Minister Chaudhary. He said that the significance of this day would be remarkable only if all the concerned bodies including the government and the community work collectively for the protection and promotion of water sources. Also, he urged the general public to spread awareness and launch campaigns with a determination to conserve and promote water resources. Addressing today’s challenges posed by water pollution, he underlined the need to generate public awareness regarding the protection and promotion of sources of water as well as provide solution to the problem. He said that special programs have also been launched in Terai to manage the arsenic water consumed by the people there. Also, concerning those who are forced to drink impure water in different parts of the country, a water quality testing program will be conducted across the country starting this year, according to Minister Chaudhary.
Suresh Acharya, Secretary at the Ministry of Drinking Water said that the program was organized to make people aware of the importance of World Water Day. He shared about past experiences of celebrating world water day in five-star hotels saying that they were not very meaningful. Hence, it was conducted this year in Sundarijal, one of the most remarkable places to quench the thirst of Kathmanduites. “We have organized this program in Sundarijal also to inform that we will be supplying drinking water from Melamchi to people of Kathmandu by the end of Chaitra.”
According to Acharya, around 170 million liters of water will be distributed in the first phase of distributing water from Melamchi, which will be extended to 340 million liters under the second phase. Acharya mentioned that all the agencies must work together to pay attention to the groundwater resources and urged the heads of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd. (KUKL) and Nepal Drinking Water Corporation to pay attention to manage 40 percent of the water that gets wasted due to leakage. According to Acharya, 12 billion cubic meters of water are being obtained annually from underground water resources in Kathmandu. He also stressed the need for the concerned bodies to work jointly for the protection of the environment, management of water recharge system, conservation, and enhancement of groundwater resources for sustainable development.
On the occasion, Chairman and Joint Secretary of World Water Day Organizing Committee Tiresh Prasad Khatri, Chief of Gokarneshwor Municipality Santosh Chalise, Chairman of Nepal Drinking Water Institute Gunakar Bhushal, Chairman of Society of Public Health Engineers Nepal (SOFEN) Er. Anil Bhadra Khanal, Director General of Department of Drinking Water and Sewerage Management Surya Raj Kandel, Executive Director of Kathmandu Valley Drinking Water Management Board Sanjiv Bikram Rana, and others expressed their views on conservation and enhancement of groundwater.
During the program, a song reflecting awareness regarding water and human life’s journey, written, and composed by Suresh Acharya, Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water was released. The program also featured live performances by artists including composer Mahesh Khadka, singer Deepak Limbu and singer Deepa Suhang. During the program, a short play ‘Runche Dhara’ was presented to show the importance of drinking water. Speech competition was also organized on the occasion, in which students from different schools presented their views on the importance of water in the present day. Moreover, informative presentations were made on how to conserve and clean water and wells by the heads of concerned bodies, students, artists, and engineers.