Water Supply in Nepal

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Water supply in Nepal is a very interesting topic to talk about. Because of the remoteness of many projects combined with the lack of proper funds for the district water supply offices and a hand full of other reasons, the data collection for potable water coverage in Nepal is uncertain. Official figures put the total urban coverage about 60% and rural coverage about 40%. These figures are greatly exaggerated in my opinion, mainly due to the indirect motivation for inflated reporting by the district water supply officers and their superiors, all the way to the top. Job performance and effectiveness is (as in most countries) tied directly to the numbers. And if the numbers look good the person looks good. This should not be looked at in a negative way but rather it is insight into the numbers and what they mean.

In actuality, the numbers can be as low as 50% off the tabulated values as estimated by certain individuals (including my experience). But because there is no easy way as of yet to gather this information, no one really knows what the actual numbers are.

There are three main types of water projects in Nepal. They are the gravity flow community water supply projects commonly referred to as just "gravity flow" projects, spring protection projects, and the tube well projects.

Both gravity flow and spring protection projects are projects that are used in the hill regions of Nepal. They rely on gravity as a means to move the water from point A to point B. As a result, both systems are very similar in design. The main difference lies in the length and complexity of the scheme. Gravity flow projects cover up to 20 kilometers in length of pipeline where spring protection projects cover only about 10 meters in length. In other words, gravity flow projects aim at protecting the source and transporting the water as close as possible to the users and protecting the source. Spring protection only concerns itself with protection of the source, no transportation.

Tube well projects are the type of project used in the the Terai, the flatlands of Nepal. In the Terai, the watertable is readily accessible (unlike the water table in the hills which is not practically accessible). The other advantage to projects in the Terai is that most locations can be reached by vehicle, making the use of well drilling equipment (a necessity to tube well projects) possible.

Water project descriptions are for:

Spring Protection projects (Hills)
Gravity Flow projects (Hills)
Tubewell projects (Flatlands)

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