Pokhara Drinking Water Project resumes works after five-month-long gap

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Kathmandu - Project for Improvement of Water Supply in Pokhara, the second-largest drinking water project in the country in terms of investment after Melamchi Water Supply Project, was resumed amid the pandemic coronavirus infection. The project halted its works for more than five months due to a lockdown imposed for the prevention and control of coronavirus.

Currently, a Japanese national and 70 Nepali workers are working after the resumption of the project development. However, the project has faced some challenges for lack of other technical human resources, mostly from Japan. Officials said that development of the project works would move ahead smoothly after Dashain festival after the arrival of Japanese technical expertise on October 2. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended Rs 5 billion in assistance for the development of the project.

Engineer of Water Supply Corporation Santosh Kumar Das said that eight technical human resources are scheduled to arrive to Nepal from Japan and they would join the job after completing certain health protocol and staying in quarantine. Only 25 per cent of the total physical progress is achieved despite the agreement to complete the project by August 11, 2021.

Drinking water in the tourist city would be distributed after the water treatment from Mardikhola and the distribution line would be upgraded under the Project for Improvement of Water Supply in Pokhara. Construction of a grid chamber and sedimentation tank is ongoing near the water source at Mardikhola. The sedimentation tank has the capacity of processing 42 million litres water daily.

The processed water from the sedimentation pond would be taken to the 'slow and filter' that is being constructed at Puranchaur of Pokhara-19, some two kilometres from the sedimentation pond. Other structures are also in the process of construction. Sixty per cent works of the 'slow and filter' has been completed.

The Japanese company is responsible for 90 per cent of the project while the Corporation has responsibility for 10 per cent. The Corporation will invest Rs 400 million in the project. The government and JICA signed an agreement on February 15, 2017 on the construction of the project. The project will benefit 405,889 people of 19 wards of Pokhara metropolitan city. According to the Corporation, the daily water demand of the metropolis is 65 million litres and the current supply is only around 40 million litres.

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National News Agency, Nepal

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