The supply of drinking water from the Melamchi River in Sindhupalchowk to Kathmandu valley restarted on Monday after around 10 months of complete closure of the water tunnel.
Minister of Drinking Water Umakant Chaudhary inaugurated the redistribution of the water from Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited branch office at New Baneshwar.
The Melamchi project plans to distribute 170 million litres of water on daily basis in Kathmandu valley in a few days. Water will be distributed at least on alternate days following earlier time schedule.
The project had first started distributing the Melamchi water inside Kathmandu on March 28 last year. However, the supply was disrupted following major floods and landslides in Sindhupalchowk on June 15. The headworks of the project were completely damaged, accumulating dozens of feet high pebbles, sand, and mud at the headworks.
Following the damage, the government had intensified the clearing of debris from the headworks by mobilising Nepali Army personnel. But, clearing of the debris was not possible since the link road, along with couple of bridges that joined the headworks, were also completely destroyed by floods.
The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board then decided to channel the water from the Melamchi River through alternative means avoiding the headworks.
As per the new plan, Melamchi water arrived in the valley after a gap of 10 months on April 12. It was purified at a treatment plant in Sundarijal and sent to 10 reservoir tanks of KUKL.
The water will be supplied across Kathmandu through underground pipes.
On June 15, MWSDB’s authorities closed the main door at the headworks, preventing the debris and mud from flowing inside the tunnel. However, the headworks area of around 200 square metres was covered by up by 20 feet high pebbles and mud.
Without proper headworks, there remains a threat that floods or debris could easily enter the tunnel further damaging it.
For this, the MWSDB has established an ‘early warning system’ at the headworks that will provide early information about floods or massive rainfall in the area so that authorities could close the doors of the dam before any damage.
A coordination committee has been formed by the ministry for equitable distribution of water inside the valley.
Minister Chaudhary, while inaugurating the water redistribution project, said plans were being devised to purify the Bagmati water during the monsoon and distribute it through KUKL.
The Melamchi project will remain closed during the monsoon following security issues.