Start of a good life with proper water supply
Two of the four water tanks built in Ramche, Nuwakot.
By Sofila Vaidya
Walking far away to fetch water will soon be an old story for Ram Maya Chepang (35), a resident of Gajuri Municipality. “Tap is ready. Now, we are patiently waiting for the water to flow,” shares Ram Maya who is one amongst 281 households who will soon be benefitting from Oxfam’s Ramche Water Supply System project implemented in Dhading district of Nepal.
Due to massive earthquake of 2015, five different water sources in Ramche community of Dhading district, just 38 kms away from the capital city Kathmandu, had dried out. Community people living in the area had to face lot of troubles and challenges in absence of safe water supply. Few managed to fulfill their water demands by walking hours to reach the water from springs, but it was not easy for everyone “We walked two hours to reach Dariya Khola (small stream) to bring a bucket full of water all the way up to our homes,” says Ram Maya. Without proper water supply, life has been very hard, with no comfort at all.
In 2018, the ray of hope began to emerge as community people started initiating the process of building Ramche water supply system in their community. Through Purnima project, Oxfam with support from local organization Prayash Nepal undertook the process of constructing the supply system with immense support from the communities. The project area is predominantly inhabited by marginalized Chepangs, Dalits, and Janajatis, Brahmins and Chettris.
Discovery of water
Twelve kilometers far from the community, a source with 1.8 lps (liters per second) discharge was found. The yield was enough for fulfilling the water demand of the community population. Regular coordination was maintained with Gajuri Rural Municipality for joint implementation and contribution for the project. Agreement was made between Gajuri Rural Municipality, Ramche Water Users Committee and Prayash Nepal, kicking off the construction. With the modality to engage community themselves in excavation of pipelines, and collection of local materials required to construct the household taps, the project started with good coordination.
As this is a new scheme, the entire structural component needed to be built; one spring intake, one sedimentation tank, four ferro cement tank with capacities (6m³, 12 m³, and 2 nos 20 m³), four break pressure tank, three interruption chamber (IC), two wash out valve chamber and one air release valve chamber. Along with these, three section valve chambers and two distribution chambers was also constructed. For the safety, fencing the entire structure has also been planned. This system has been designed for 20 years of assurance period to meet the domestic demand of 70 liters per person per day.
To regulate water flow, reservoir tanks are constructed for each cluster. Each junction has flow regulating valves and each tap stands are fitted with glove valves. Hydraulic design of pipelines is meant to calculate pipe sizes that helps to regulate the flow of water.
While the community awaits…
While the whole new supply system is being built, the members of users’ committee did not wait to bring water to households. They were swift enough to make water available temporarily to the nearest point by conduit water source through pipe. Besides the involvement in construction, the existing knowledge about water, its supply system, construction procedures, reoccurring challenges, mitigation measures and proper management/book keeping of community people were enhanced through a series of capacity building trainings. Trainings such as pre-construction management training, village maintenance workers’ trainings, water safety plan training and safety workers at construction site trainings have been given.
Using spare time fruitfully
“Once the water is here, we plan to grow vegetables in our backyard. That will save us money from buying them from local shops,” said Sita Devi, Treasurer of Users’ Committee, which is fairly balanced with both male and females in it. Like Sita, many women in the community are thrilled to know that they will not have to waste their significant time in fetching water for household activities. Many are also happy that they will finally get chance to spent good time with their kids, supporting them in the schooling activities and other chores.
Oxfam also plans to open Community Discussion Centres (CDC) in the area, where women and gather and interact about important issues facing them in the everyday life. They will also receive support to liase with local government for development program identified through CDC discussion.
Building the water supply system is a huge task. Moreover, keeping it smoothly running is another one. Which is why, users’ committee has already collected cash 1200 Nepali rupees upfront from each household. Once the water system start running, communities will also pay regular tariff based on meter reading. This amount will be used to pay the salary for the maintenance, caretaker and repairing the water system as required.
If you have any questions regarding the project, please contact Mr. Bal Bahadur Thakurathi at Oxfam in Nepal.