Nepal holds water festival for sustainable use of water

Last Updated: Sat, May 05, 2012 11:00 hrs

-ANI): A three- day Water Festival is under way in Nepali capital Kathmandu from Friday with the objective of spreading knowledge and awareness among the public for sustainable use of water.

Organised by Direction Nepal, the festival is first of its kind in Nepal to deliver the consideration that should be made in order to maintain a wise consumption of water.

Talking to Xinhua, Director of Direction Nepal Pashupati KC said that the event not only provides information about the use of water but also exhibit new technological opportunities that can be made available in Nepal for good use of water.

"We will be providing information to the visitors as to how the sustainability of water can be made by following the values and importance of water in the modern context and why it is important, " KC said.

According to KC, in the changing global context, water has become a key issue for survival.

"Water is very important, however, every year the scarcity of drinking water increases. Our objective is to minimize such phenomenon and also to show people how technology can benefit the water and decrease pollution to make water usable and drinkable," he added.

The festival will also advocate the new possible technological, social or legal initiatives of water conservation along with inspiring individuals, families, communities, institutions and government agencies to initiate measures of water conservation at their respective level.

The festival expects to receive as many as 10,000 people at their premises and benefit a lot more.

Though Nepal stands as the second richest country in water resources after Brazil and has a large number of river basins and fresh water flowing, the population of the nation is lacking pure drinking water which has worsened in the recent days due to climate change.

Data showed an estimated 8.6 million cubic meters of water flow every year from the Himalayas to the plains and then to the Indian subcontinent, which is enough to support more than a billion people. Glaciers and snow melts are the only source of fresh water for the population in Nepal. Nepal has around 3,000 glaciers and 2, 000 glacial lakes. However, as many as 20 lakes are at risk of bursting.

Experts believe that the trend in climate change shows that the continuous decrease in snow accumulation and glacial retreat might lead to acute water shortages in the future.

According to Department of Water Supply and Sewerage in Nepal, Nepal's population which is at 27 million in the present context has 42 percent of people living under the poverty line.

Out of this population, only 80 percent people have access to drinking water.

These drinking water are, however, not safe owing to the pollution that is caused in the rivers and water resources. While people in the mountains still have to travel hours and wait in queues to fetch a bucket of water, in the plains people depend largely on the groundwater which has been contaminated due to contamination of soil during agriculture by large use of chemicals.

The department also stated that the Terai Region contains sedimentary layers of sand; gravel deposits interlocked with flood plains carried by rivers and are extremely vulnerable to arsenic contamination.

Meanwhile, many rivers flowing through the urban areas of Nepal also has a high amount of pollution because of which it cannot be used for drinking or any other purposes.

According to the report of the department, the capital city of Kathmandu produces anout 150 tons of waste daily and almost half of this are dumped into rivers. Likewise, the households in Kathmandu Valley generate about 80 percent of the wastewater which seeps into the river.

Similarly, due to the water scarcity which is caused by lack of supply of water in the households owing to dry season where there is no rain and the rivers have very little water, a large number of people in Kathmandu now dig tube-wells and wells for water.

Talking to Xinhua, Suwesh Shrestha, a water expert said, " Kathmandu Valley using water from the ground is extremely dangerous. The valley can supply this water only until the resource last which may be upto or less than a 100 years. If this trend continues, the entire valley will sink."

"Nepal needs water survival, agriculture, for hydropower and it is an important entity for every human," Shrestha said adding that if timely awareness and measures are not owned then the humanity as such will face the threat.

"Programs like the water festival is very important in the society in order to raise awareness as to how and why we must be wise with water," Shrestha said. (Xinhua-ANI)

More from Sify: