KATHMANDU WATER SYSTEM UPGRADES, KUDOS NEPAL!
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Kathmandu’s water system is undergoing upgrading, a project that will require hundreds of millions of dollars. This news alone is cause for elation, it being a sign of how sincere and focused is the democratic state in developing and modernizing Nepal.
I am among those ASEAN development experts who holds Nepal in high esteem, even as I express accolades for its shift from autocracy to democracy. It is a wealthy nation, though sadly along its trajectory of nationhood it slept. I know of Nepal’s history, a history replete with building High Culture, sufficient enough to make Buddha decide to embody in the country as Lord Siddharta Gautama.
It’s really just a matter of waking up a sleeping Tiger for Nepal’s case. The intellectual and spiritual resources of the country didn’t sleep at all amid the economic doldrums across centuries, so I am optimistic for this new democracy to rise to Tiger fame in just two (2) decades of less. The upgrading of its water systems and other utilities are among the correct steps to take, aside from upgrading infrastructures.
Incidentally, the trust of fellow Asians on the Nepalese to chart their new destiny is there, trust that served as impetus for the ADB to extend Official Development Assistance or ODA to jump-start the ambitious Kathmandu project.
Kudos Nepal for your audacious prosperity drives!
[Philippines, 13 October 2011]
ADB Helps Nepal Boost Water Supply to Poor Households in Kathmandu Valley
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending an $80 million loan to Nepal for water distribution improvements which will benefit more than 2.72 million people in the densely populated Kathmandu Valley.
The ADB Board of Directors has approved the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project which will expand piped water access to many more households. Residents of Kathmandu Valley will get better quality water for more hours and at higher pressure. The project will reduce water losses in the distribution system and also raise the financial and asset management capabilities of agencies overseeing the sector.
The project will complement other ongoing water services work being carried out by ADB and its development partners, including the construction of the Melamchi tunnel which, when completed, will more than double the current available supply of water in the valley.
“The project will prioritize underserved areas and poor sections of the population in Kathmandu Valley,” said Manoj Sharma, Urban Development Specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department. “Piped water through individual connection will relieve women of the drudgery of collecting water, giving them more time for social and economically productive activities.”
Kathmandu Valley’s population has been growing at over 6% a year, but a lack of sustainable water sources and underinvestment has left many households with inadequate, low quality supplies which pose health risks, especially for the poor and for women.
The works planned under the new project will include the construction of additional bulk transmission systems and reservoirs, rehabilitation of water distribution networks, increased household connections, and the provision of 24-hour supplies in at least 10% of the targeted service area. A comprehensive non-revenue water reduction and asset management plan designed to minimize purchase and maintenance costs, will also be introduced.
The loan, from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund, has a 32-year term with an 8-year grace period. Interest will be charged at 1% per annum for the grace term, and 1.5% for the balance. The Government of Nepal will provide $50 million for a total investment cost of $130 million.
The Ministry of Physical Planning and Works will execute the project which is due for completion in December 2016.
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