Pyuthan – Erawati Rural Municipality in Pyuthan district has dug 46 recharge ponds after the water sources started drying up due to drought. Erawati Rural Municipality Chairman Nabil Bikram Shah said that one or two recharge pits have been dug in each community forest of the Rural Municipality on the basis of the number of consumers.
The construction of 52 recharge ponds has been commenced in coordination with the Federation of Community Forestry Users to resolve dryness after the Rural Municipality pledged to fund the cost of meal of the labourers.
According to Federation of Community Forestry Users Erawati President Ram Prasad Pokharel, 46 recharge ponds have been dug so far and the other ponds will be dug soon.
Pokharel said that the digging of a huge number of recharge ponds was commenced following an agreement between Federation of Community Forestry Users and Erawati Rural Municipality. The deal was reached in a bid to address the problem of rapidly drying water sources owing to haphazard construction of roads and houses.
“Locals have agreed to dig at least one pond each in each of the 52 community forests after the consumers of community forest vowed to help in digging the ponds and the Rural Municipality offered to provide Rs 778,000 as food expenses,” he said.
Pokharel said so during a program organized by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists. Pokharel said that he knew about the recharge pond through the local Mallarani Rural Development Service Centre.
As the rainfall was relatively low in Pyuthan this year, the ponds have not been filled with water.
Badarkhola Community Forest Chairman Bharat Bikram Shah said that the ancestors used to construct this kind of pond in different places in the past for the cattle to take bath. “We did not care about that kind of pond. Now, we have realized the importance of such ponds,” he said.
Kamal Shrestha, treasurer at the Ranighat Women Agricultural Group and the local of ward-2, said that the locals of Erawati have been digging the recharge ponds with eagerness.
The locals had to walk for one hour to fetch water when there was the problem of water shortage in the village. “We dug the recharge ponds for three days in each community forest hoping that the water sources will not dry up after the construction of recharge ponds,” she said.
Pokharel said that they were able to dig 46 recharge ponds in a short period of time with the help of locals.
Local Muna Rawat of Erawati-2 said that they renovated some of the ponds constructed by the ancestors in the past and made recharge ponds.
Similarly, speaking at the program, Erawati Rural Municipality Vice-Chairman Buddha Bahadur Basnet said merely building the recharge ponds will not resolve the problem of water, hinting at the necessity to conserve them.
The Rural Municipality Chairman said that they are working with an objective to build one or more than one recharge ponds in each community forest. “Earlier, we gave priority only for constructing the roads. Now, we have given priority to upgrade the roads, plant trees on the road side and dig recharge ponds,” he said.
Saying that they have been producing saplings by establishing nursery for afforestation, he said that they could plant the saplings due to lack of expected rainfall.
Highlighting the works done as per the commitments made during the Paani program earlier, Chairman Shah said that the Rural Municipality is very serious to conserve the environment and sustainable development.
The Rural Municipality constructed the recharge ponds after the water sources started drying up due to climate change, destruction of forests, population growth, wildfires and construction of infrastructure.
During the program, people’s representatives and other concerned stakeholders have made a five-point commitment to conserve, promote recharge ponds and to stop open grazing among others.