Local government stresses on conserving water sources

Pyuthan : Human life is an integral part of nature. That is why, it is fundamentally entwined with the law of nature. Nature is the source of energy and food, among other things. Therefore, it should be conserved in an honorable way. It is imperative to desist from the activities that would destroy the nature. The natural system need to be protected and utilized as the conservation of environment will have a long term benefit.

“We have been facing the problem of drinking water after the construction of Bukeni road section buried the water source at Kusumkot. The six places of Kusumkot (Khalanga, Bijuli, Dharampani, Syalpakha, Gahatera and Mundanda) used to fetch water from that water source but no one has paid any attention to conserve the water source,” said local Raju Nepal, at a program.

“Whose responsibility is it to conserve the source of drinking water? Who will plant trees, install fence wires and clean the area around the water sources?” Nepal questioned.

Local Chairman of FECOFAN Damodar Sharma said that it is necessary to conduct a field monitoring before starting any project. There will be a risk of drying up water sources in case any project is launched forcefully without carrying out any research. Sharma lamented that around 200 households have been compelled to drink contaminated water.

Local Laxmi Shrestha said that the problem had surfaced after the road was constructed without preparing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Chairman of Nepal Red Cross Society Gumaraj Pulami said that everyone should joined hands to minimize the disaster of drinking water. He further asked whether the local government has made any plan to manage the disaster or not.

Local Nabin Shrestha underlined the need to make a master-plan by carrying out broader study for the conservation of water source.

Chairman of Federation of Drinking Water and Sanitation Users Nepal (FEDWASUN) Ram Bahadur KC said that the water sources have been drying up due to haphazard construction of roads and open grazing. Locals have been forced to drink the water of Khalanga for six months and the water of river for another six months, he said. He questioned whether the local government has made any profile to conserve the water sources or not? When will the problem of drinking water be resolved?

Mallarani Rural Development Centre Chairman Nirmal Kumar Shrestha said that a provision should be brought to stop the people from leaving the land barren in Jhimruk wetland area. He said that the concerned authority should collet the old and new ponds and should protect them.

Mallarani Rural Municipality Ward-2 Chairman Lekh Bahadur Thapa, Giriraj Paudel and Ram Bahadur Thapa floated similar views during the program. Division Forest Office, local government, province government and federal government should coordinate with each other to conserve the water sources. They said that Kharipati Dobhan Lift Drinking Water Project, Girichaur Tallo Drinking Project should be protected and open grazing should be stopped in Sawadula Community Forest Consumers Committee in Ward No. 3, tress should be planted in open places. They further said that open grazing has been stopped to prevent landslides and the budget has also been allocated through all the three ward offices for the conservation of water sources in the coming days.

Chief administrative officer at the Mallarani Rural Municipality Sobhram Rijal said that water is the basis of life and expressed his commitment to conserve the water sources.

Mallarani Rural Municipality has allocated Rs 945,000 to construct and repair recharge ponds, plant trees and conserve water sources in all the five wards in the fiscal year 2019/ 2020 after the water sources started drying up, Rijal said.

Pyuthan District Coordination Committee Vice-Chairman Padam Thapa said that the problem surfaced after the people wanted development in a short span of time. Saying that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is essential for the development, he urged everyone to give continuation to the conservation of environment. He said that locals should take the responsibility for a sustainable development. Mallarani Rural Municipality Chief Amardhij Rana said, “We have not been able to work as per the commitment. We have limited resources and have been carrying out works in Takura, Syanlek, Bukeni, Girichaur and Khalanga of Lukka regarding drinking water.”

Rana said that the works of drinking water has been going on in Lukka, Sindure, Thulapani, Solalma, Syallek, Mulagaira and Kesari, among other places, in coordination with Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office.

Jhimruk Mallarani Drinking Water Project and Lift Drinking Water Project will be constructed at a cost of Rs 10 million in coordination with federal government and rural municipality demanding the plan from Samapurak Fund via Financial Affairs and Planning Tourism Ministry.

The construction of two projects Jhimruk Mallarani Lift Drinking Water and Damaikhola Chairpani Lift Drinking Projects will start immediately with a budget of Rs 80 million, and Khaira Darbange Drinking Water and Chunja Pandhera Drinking Water Projects will be operated with a budget of Rs 8 million, Rana said.

The Chairman said that recharge ponds have been constructed at Upalla Pokhara, Bhujelchair and Pokhara of Laure with a budget of Rs 190,000.  Rana said that Division Forest Office and Mallarani Rural Municipality have made a verbal agreement to construct the roads and plant trees in the coming days.

Rana said that they have been coordinating with the people for the development of local level. Saying mere coordination with the people is not enough, he expressed his commitment to move ahead by coordinating with the concerned stakeholders of Mallarani Rural Municipality.

Speaking at the program, Jhimruk wetland area expert Bhaskar Dev Chaudhary of Paani Project said, “Water is the basis of life.” He said that the main objective of the Paani Project is to improve the aquatic natural resources, conserve aquatic biodiversity and to minimize the risk to aquatic biodiversity.

Chaudhary said that the works to stop landslides, conserve water sources, construct environment-friendly roads and build capacity have been going on with the help of Paani Project. Saying that almost 33 percent water sources have already dried up in Kusumkot, the project is trying to build the capacity in that place and to resolve the problem of consumers.

He said that Kusumkot, Banchare and Mundanda have been reeling under acute shortage of water and arable lands have also been turning barren, urging the rural municipality to coordinate with the concerned agency to resolve the problems.

The issues about water sources drying up and dryness and the ways to resolve the problems were discussed during the Paani discussion organized by Nepal Forum of Environment Journalists (NEFEJ) with the financial assistance of USAID.

During the program, local representatives and concerned stakeholders had expressed their commitment to help resolve all the outstanding problems from their side.

Rural Municipality Chairman Krishna Dhoj Rana, Administrative Officer Shovaram Rijal, Plannin Officer Bandana Shakya, District Coordination Committee Vice-Chairman Padam Thapa, ward chairmen Lekh Bahadur Thapa, Giriraj Paudel and Ram Bahadur Thapa, officials of FECOFAN, Nepal Red Cross Society, Mallarani Rural Development Centre, Paani Project and local journalists, among others, were present in the program.

More than 30 people had participated in the program. The program had endorsed an eight-point commitments to resolve the problem of water sources drying up and dryness.

Commitments

  1. To give continuation to the success commitments.
  2. To stress on implementation of commitments that were not succeeded.
  3. To carry out development work by not destroying water sources.
  4. To formulate policy to conserve aquatic animals and aquatic biodiversity and to implement it.
  5. To formulate policy to not leave arable lands barren and spread awareness.
  6. To operate programs to manage recharge ponds, recharge pits and bio-embankment.
  7. To formulate policy and programs related to conservation of aquatic animals and biodiversity and implement them.
  8. To coordinate with the concerned agencies.
  9. To plant trees that will preserve the water.
  10. There should be presence of local representatives during the programs like coordination and cooperation.
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