MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
Groundwater levels are being depleted by 1.9 metres each year. Marking World Water Day, water expert Nawaraj Shrestha notes that 15 years ago, Kathmandu's groundwater was at the level of 20 to 30 metres below the ground. "But now we need to dig deeper than 80 metres to hit water."
A 1997 study by Australian researcher Chris Well shows that on current trends, Kathmandu's groundwater supply will dry up in 100 years. "Degradation has been accelerated by unmanaged urbanisation," Shrestha says.
Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) has moved its water boring system from Teku following the drying out of the supply there. It has been operating just 57 of its 78 groundwater centres. These provide 6 million litres of water per day. As the water supply decreases, KUKL installs new boring systems, on average in four new sites every year. But it has not introduced any programs to recharge groundwater.
Shrestha suggests that the government encourage people to construct wells to collect groundwater and allow rainwater to seep into the ground. The government should also act against river bank encroachment, conserve old water bodies, and manage urbanisation.
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