World Water Day 2019: Improving Access to Water; Leading a Sustained Healthy life

22nd March 2019

This World Water Day, we bring you story of Man Bahadur from Gorkha district, one of the most earthquake affected districts of Nepal. Man Bahadur is the president of the Naya Gaun Baltar Water User Committee from Gandaki Rural Municipality, Gorkha. He is 60 years old and is living with his wife. The Water User Committee has been registered and working for two years now and he is an active member of the community.

Before the households used water from common water taps. This was made with the funding from district. We then decided to have water for our individual households. It did not last long. The major problem for our community was the scarcity of water we faced after the water source dried up immediately after the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

‘We had to fetch water from a source that was about half an hour walk in total. I used to go to the source early in the morning at around 5 in the morning. Some community members even went to the source at midnight after everybody slept.’

‘In those days of hardship, life was always in rush. Everyone of us competed with everyone us for water. One elderly community person used to go to fetch water after everybody was asleep. He made sure that no one would wake up as he walked to the source with pin drop silence. He even did not use torch light. Having any community member wake up meant another competitor to fetch water. He used to complete four or five rounds of bringing water to his household when I got up in the morning at 5am.’

Man Bahadur with his home grown vegetables at the background

Adding to our woes was the slower rate of water coming from the only source and we were allowed to fetch around 50 litres per turn. Most of our time was spent queuing up for water.

‘I feel the supply of water to our houses is a greater contribution to renovation of our houses after earthquake. Water is an important element in our life.

‘The greenery you see now in my field used to be a dry brown field with no vegetables at all. Every vegetable had to be bought from the vegetable market. I do not have to buy vegetables now. I grow them in my field. I even send these vegetables to my relatives in Kathmandu and distribute it within our community members. The only thing I need to buy to eat now is meat [laughs].

Ram Bahadur showing his home grown potatoes

Raleigh volunteers came to work on a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in our community. Initially, the plan was to have common water taps installed but we requested Raleigh for individual house hold tap. With some of the contribution from our side, we now have a water pipeline for almost all of the 34 households.

Regular repair and maintenance work are being done by us. We have a registered water user committee that meets up once every month. In the meeting, we discuss the issues of water and also collect 100 Nepalese Rupees. With the deposited amount, we have hired two people who take care of the regular repair and maintenance work of the inlet tank which ensures sustainability!

Cauliflower and vegetables in Ram Bahadur’s vegetable garden

Raleigh Nepal has worked with 42 communities and completed 47 water supply schemes reaching the total number of beneficiaries 7570 from Gorkha and Makwanpur districts since its inception of work in 2015 to 2018. Water quality testing is done to ensure the physical chemical and biological parameters of water in the water schemes that are built. In addition to these, the volunteers and staff members run different awareness raising sessions on household water treatment to community people to ensure safe drinking water to community. With the aid from its project partners: Rural Awareness and Development Organization (RADO) Nepal, Women, Children and Environment Development (WOCHEND) from Makwanpur, and Goreto Gorkha and Shree Swanra Integrated Community Development Centre (SSICDC) from Gorkha, water safety plan training is given to Water User Committees and community members to ensure safe water form source to mouth of community people.

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images and post by Suman

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