Article courtesy of Damber Singh Rai | June 1, 2014 | Ekantipur | Shared as educational material
KHOTANG – Residents of more than half a dozen VDCs in the western part of the district are reeling under acute drinking water crisis.
The problem is so serious that scores of people of the area have migrated to elsewhere temporarily.
Local people said that most of public wells in the VDCs like Halesi Mahadevsthan, Durchhim, Mangaltar, Bahunidanda, Badahare, Chamsitar and Dikuwa have dried up. Chakra Rai of Durchhim said local people are forced to purchase water of late. He said 30 litres of water is sold for Rs 55. “We are left with no option other than sleeping empty stomach when we cannot purchase water. Children and those who cannot afford to purchase water are hit hard,” he said.
Gobinda Katwal of Bijayakhark VDC said around 71 families of the VDC have migrated temporarily due to water shortage.
“We were forced to migrate temporarily as water sources dried up. Now local people are drinking water from local Dikhuwa stream,” said Abhimaya Katwal of Bijayakhark VDC-2.
Rai Ramesh Gaule of Lichkiramchee VDC said 40 to 50 families of the VDC have migrated in the past three years due to the shortage of water. He said most of around 16 public wells in the area have dried up.
Juddha Pulami, former secretary of Mangaltar VDC, said their repeated calls to the authorities concerned to manage drinking water in the area have not been addressed. Pulami said that though a meeting of the concerned stakeholders declared the villages as water-deficit zones and assured them of resolving the problem, nothing has been done yet.
Devendra Kumar Jha, engineer at the District Drinking Water Office, said they do not have budget to manage water in the area and demanded that the problem should be resolved from central level.
Solar pumps for small-holder farmers
An award-winning solar water pumping system is being introduced in Nepal to address the problems of small-holder farmers in middle hills and Tarai who have long been reeling under water shortage for drinking, irrigation and domestic use.
The solar water pump, which could be used for drawing water from rivers, ponds and wells up to 50 feet deep, has currently been installed for performance testing on the premises of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (Icimod) in Lalitpur.
Icimod said the solar water pump is being introduced to help farmers tackle water shortage and address their irrigation needs in a cost-effective manner.
“Many small-holder farmers in Nepal’s Tarai region can potentially benefit from this cost-effective solar pump,” said Icimod Director General Dr David Molden while inaugurating the system on Thursday.
Molden expressed hope that these pumps will serve mountain communities, located above river valley, to overcome acute water shortage.
The machine, designed by India’s Pune-based company Atom Solar, come in two variants: a 1HP (or 750 watts) solar pump with 12 solar panels and a 2HP pump with 24 panels. Unlike conventional solar pumps that cost over half a million rupees, the 1HP pump with 12 panels is priced at Rs 160,000.
The technology will be promoted for wider adoption based on the results of its performance testing, Icimod said.
Vivek Mundkur of Atom Solar said he held extensive consultations with small-holder farmers and gained a solid understanding of their needs before designing the pump that won the best design award at a competition organised by Greenpeace in 2013.