Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

April 27, 2011

Apartments to grounds

Filed under: Ground water,Rain Water Harvesting,Urban — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

Groundwater, a reliable resource for drinking and production, is under severe stress in Kathmandu Valley because of the excessive groundwater. The process of urbanisation in Nepal has altered the natural setting of the environment; land surface is completely disturbed reducing groundwater recharging area and direct infiltration of excess rainfall. Ultimately this increases the surface runoff that quickly removes the rainwater, influencing the total amount of infiltration, reducing the subsurface flow and recharge.

A suitable and applicable method of recharging groundwater is through rainwater harvesting. Simple calculations have suggested that substantial amounts of water could be made available if shallow groundwater can be recharged with the help of rainwater. With a catchment area of 656 Km2, Kathmandu Valley receives an annual rainfall of 1,500 mm on an average. Data collected (as of 2065 BS – 2008/09) from the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) shows that there are altogether 103 numbers of housing and high rise apartments, including both constructed and under-construction. 

The study found that the total theoretical volume of water available for natural recharge (due to rain fall) in the areas covered by 12 apartments and housings (before construction) is 1,251,563 m3. Considering practicality in rainfall recharging, it has been stated that only 15 – 20 percent of the total rainfall in a particular area gets recharged. According to this, the possible recharge that could take place naturally in these areas is 250,313 m3 (20 percent of 1,251,563 m3, i.e. theoretical natural recharge within these areas). Based on Nepal’s experience, the cost of rainwater harvesting installation is 68.8 USD per sq m of the roof catchment but this does not include the cost of preliminary treatment units. 

The total potential volume of water that can be harvested from these 12 apartments and housings is 3.33 times the total volume of water consumption (155,104 m3) in a year. When we generalise from this study conducted in 12 apartments and housings with 681 units, it can be said that 77 percent of the total volume of water can be harvested from built up areas and 41 percent of theoretically available volume of rainwater in any apartment and housings for natural recharge can be tapped for recharging groundwater.

The post is written by Mr Kabir Das Rajbhandari, Programme Manager – Urban, WaterAid in Nepal.

April 22, 2011

Walk the talk to save lives demands SACOSAN IV

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags: — Shikha Shrestha @ 12:09 am

South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) aims to accelerate progress of sanitation and hygiene work in South Asia to enhance people’s quality of life. The government of Sri Lanka hosted SACOSAN IV. The conference with the slogan of “Sanitation enhances quality of life” was attended by around 300 delegates comprising Ministers, government officials, activists, civil society, media and intellectuals.

His Excellency Mr.  Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka addressing inauguration of the Ministerial Summit of fourth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN IV, 4-7 April 2011) appealed the world to divert their defense budget to development to reduce poverty and suffering. The defense budget of Sri Lanka was reduced from 5% in 2008 to 2% in 2010 to invest more on development including sanitation that paved as the fundamental base for health, education, economic growth and dignity of life.

The Heads of Delegation from Afghanistan , Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in SACOSAN IV committed for progressive realization of the right to sanitation in programmes, projects and finally in the legislation ensuring the right as the legally enforceable right with supportive sector policies.

SACOSAN IV was unique from previous summits as there was a separate session for grass roots activists. It was amazing to hear their motivating stories that if replicated could change regional scenario where 45% of people still defecating in open and bearing economic losses equating nearly to 5.8% of total regional GDP. It was shocking to hear that 750,000 children of the region had already lost their lives since last Delhi SACOSAN by diarrhoea.

The SACOSAN IV Colombo Declaration had clearly indicated commitment for context specific equitable and inclusive sanitation and hygiene programmes including better identification of the marginalized groups and proper monitoring to guarantee equitable sharing of development benefits. The pre SACOSAN IV consultation meeting of Civil Society Organizations had also chalked out its declaration with urgent action to end the sanitation crisis in the region.

Materializing and monitoring previous commitments with time bound action plan was another key essence in the Colombo declaration. It opened avenues of collaboration with its call of extending support as well as linkage in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It is dire need to walk the talk as sanitation is matter of life and death as expressed by Tom Palakudiyil, Head of Asia, WaterAid in opening address. Let’s hope SACOSAN V to be held in Nepal after two years would show case tremendous success of sanitation in transforming lives of people.

April 21, 2011

Link of the week – 21 to 27 April 2011

Filed under: Ground water,Link of the week,Media,Rain Water Harvesting,Urban — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

Apartments to the grounds

Water management is a very critical aspect of growth and development of any economy, more so in a developing country like Nepal which is endowed with many water resources that need to be conserved, better managed, recharged and channelized for meeting the ever increasing requirements of present trend of urban growth of Nepal which is one of the highest in the South Asian region. Groundwater is a reliable resource for drinking and production, both in terms of quantity and quality. More – Click here for our link of the week – 21 to 27 April 2011

The article is written by Mr Kabir Das Rajbhandari, Programme Manager – Urban at WaterAid in Nepal and published on Republica on Sunday 17 April 2011.

April 20, 2011

Rural campaigning to end water and sanitation scarcity

Filed under: Advocacy,Campaigns,Rural,Walk for Water — Shikha Shrestha @ 9:00 am

Campaigning for water scarcity is not a new phenomenon in Nepal. The presence of active members of End Water Poverty Nepal, Freshwater Action Network Nepal and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Nepal – WSSCC Nepal chapter together with organizations including WaterAid in Nepal, NEWAH, NGOFUWS, FEDWASUN, Guthi and private partners like Standard Chartered Bank, Rotary Club and so the list goes on.  If I’ve missed any organization that has been a strong supporter then please do not be offended, all your contribution is highly appreciated.

Nepal Walk for Water campaign aims to raise awareness of the water and sanitation crisis and demand concrete action from national political leadership. The walk emphasizes the need for solidarity to ensure equal access to safe water and sanitation recognizing the crisis as prioritized national development agenda. It calls for water and sanitation to be a political priority, for investments to reach communities in need, and that water and sanitation is not ignored anymore.

Federation of Water and Sanitation Users in Nepal (FEDWASUN) mobilized their members in various districts. The walk in Dhading district was led by Honorable Minister Ganga Lal Tuladhar, Ministry of Education along with the Chief District Officer, Local Development Officer and Chief of Water District Division.  Political party leaders, district based water supply and sanitation related bureaucrats, concerned civil society organizations were present in all these walks.

Photo: Honorable Minister leading the walk at Dhading

Uniqueness of the walk was showcased by carrying of water vessels in the walks organized by FEDWASUN. The photographs were publicized by National Daily that hyped up the coverage of water scarcity in the country. The symbolic representation of water vessel is found to be successful in capturing media attention. The challenge for the future however is how to maintain the creativity of the campaigns without duplicating the same symbol? The captivating rally of Dang with Tharu women carrying vessels on their head showcased their rich culture. Rallies with traditional music (“Painche Bajha”) were another attraction for walks in Gulmi and Pyuthan.

Photo: Overwhelming participation of women with water vessels

The media coverage of the campaign complains of organizing these events only on global events. On contrary, how these events help raise awareness in remotest parts should be analyzed. In a remote district like Doti , in  presence of small children political leader Mr. Ank Bhadhar Khadkha commented “We understand the importance of water, and promote the use of fresh and waste water in vegetable garden” . These campaigns not only raise awareness but also support local government agencies and political leaders to be accountable to the issues of people at the ground.

The success of these awareness campaigns is overwhelming. However, I agree with the critique that there should be sustained momentum of this campaigning energy so that real change in accountability and responsibility pattern of local leaders and citizens are evidenced with increased coverage of water and sanitation access.

April 15, 2011

Nepal tourism year 2011 and thousands of latrine

Filed under: Advocacy,Anita Pradhan's Post,Media,Sanitation,Wider impacts — Anita Pradhan @ 5:15 pm

Tourism plays a big role in Nepal, according to the National Tourism Plan in order to make Nepal Tourism Year 2011 successful they aim to attract one million international tourists and also establish a quarter million new tourist sites. These expected tourists who will visit the different sites will also need to have facilities available for them according to their needs. With 2011 being Nepal Tourism Year it is necessary that we provide tourists with proper facilities. These proper facilities not only include lodging, food and security but also proper hygiene and sanitation facilities like safe water and proper latrines.

With far off regions lacking in proper hotels the National Tourism Plan came up with the novel idea of establishing home-stay programs. This is benefitting to both the tourist and local people as it allows tourists to interact with people and allows the local to generate some income. In order to qualify for the home-stay programme, the chosen homes must have proper latrine facilities.  However the organising committee has not checked if homes have proper hygiene and sanitation facilities, this may leave tourists in a lurch. According to WaterAid in Nepal’s calculations if the expected number of one million tourists arrived for the Tourism Year, Nepal would require 77,000 latrines at a minimum. An ordinary pit latrine costs NRS 5000, according to calculations it would require 75 million NRS to make such latrines only.

Stakeholders, policy makers and advisors need to take into account that proper sanitation and hygiene facilities could actually help boost tourism and economy. With tourism year already in full swing there is little we can now do to ensure that tourists have access to latrines and proper sanitation facilities.

This post is prepared with modification on the article written by Ms Anita Pradhan, Communications Officer at WaterAid in Nepal. The article is published on The Kantipur Daily on 26 October 2010.

April 1, 2011

Sanitation and latrine

There are only three more months left until the start of Nepal Tourism Year 2011. According to official records Nepal has 735 hotels, 14,272 rooms and 28,485 beds (on per day basis) registered. The prospective tourists who will use these rooms during their stay do not know about access to basic sanitation in the form of latrines in Nepal as there is no data/ information provided on this matter. Food and latrine are equally important for people; this is a proven fact that has to be applied to the tourism sector as well.

The National Tourism Plan has set different goals in order to make Nepal Tourism Year 2011 successful, one of their main aims is to attract one million international tourists and also establish a quarter million new tourist sites. These expected tourists who will visit the different sites will also need to have facilities available for them according to their needs. According to a report released by the Nepal Water Supply and Sewage department, in 2010 alone 106 million people (57 per cent of the population) do not have a latrine in their homes. Nearly half of the total population practice open defecation as they have no other choice. It is imperative that there be the same/equal number of latrines made so that the tourists who are able to use this facility. Tourists also remain unaware about latrine/toilet facilities in Nepal.

The Tourism Plan prepared in 2067 BS determined that by establishing home-stay programmes, local communities in rural and urban areas could take part in income generating programs. However in order to qualify for the home-stay there are certain criteria’s that they must fulfill. One such criteria being that all home-stay participating houses should have a latrine and proper sanitation however it has not been stated anywhere in the policy what the condition of the latrine should be like or how proper sanitation methods will be monitored. It is possible that during the proposed tourism year we might not be able to provide basic sanitation and hygiene facilities adequately/ according to the number of expected tourists.

According to WaterAid Nepal’s calculations if the expected number of a million tourists arrived for the Tourism Year, Nepal would require 77,000 latrines at a minimum. An ordinary pit latrine costs NRS 5000, according to calculations it would require 75 million NRS to make such latrines only. When we look at the figures separated for sanitation by the annual budget we need an additional 39 million. In order to make tourism year 2011 a success we need to double our investment in the sanitation sector.

Within the next 10 years the Government of Nepal hopes to uplift the Nepalese people’s lives through economic growth, stakeholders have tried to bring about development through the tourism industry in Nepal by announcing Tourism Year 2011. This is why it is important that we organise accordingly in the areas of hygiene and sanitation. Although announced a few years ahead little preparation has been made for tourism year and any preparation on hygiene and sanitation is now late. A few years back another Asian nation, Thailand, was also in a dire state as their sanitation and hygiene similar to Nepal. Today Thailand has developed by giving priority to sanitation and hygiene which in turn has helped boost its tourism; the same idea can be applied in Nepal as well.

If basic infrastructures are provided for tourists it will positively contribute towards change in tourism industry. How many tourists should be expected and how we will provide them with basic service has an effect on environmental and other sectors of the industry as well. It can be clearly seen that providing proper access to latrines will contribute towards developing the tourism industry. If assured of having proper latrine facilities tourists will have one less thing to worry about, this can be appealing to tourists who wish to travel.

This is English translation of the article written in Nepali language by Ms Anita Pradhan, Communications Officer at WaterAid in Nepal. The article is published on The Kantipur Daily on 26 October 2010.

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