Kathmandu ralley residents face Melamchi water supply halt amid monsoon flood risks

KATHMANDU: Residents of Kathmandu Valley will be unable to receive Melamchi drinking water starting today due to increased flooding risks from the rising water flow in the Melamchi River during the monsoon season. The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) has closed the main entrance of the tunnel to prevent potential disaster.

The MWSDB announced the closure of the main gate of the Melamchi water supply project tunnel at Ambathan in Sindhupalchok. The active monsoon in Bagmati province has heightened the risk of flooding, prompting this preventive measure.

Ratna Lamichhane, executive director of the MWSDB, explained that the decision was made to avoid disaster risks during the rainy season. “Melamchi’s water will only be sent to the valley once the monsoon subsides,” he stated, indicating that the water supply will resume after the monsoon risks have passed.

To prevent potential damage to the project’s headworks during the monsoon, the government shuts down the project at the start of the rainy season and reopens it afterward. According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the monsoon typically enters Nepal on June 13 but arrived three days early this year. The monsoon is expected to end on October 2.

Lamichhane noted that heavy rainfall could muddy the Melamchi River, necessitating the project’s closure to prevent mud from entering the system. The water retention structure at the project’s main headworks prevents turbid water from flowing into the tunnel. However, damage to this structure means the project must halt operations whenever the river becomes too cloudy. The closure is a precautionary measure due to increased risks of river silting with the onset of heavier rains.

In the interim, Lamichhane mentioned an agreement with the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilization to bring water from the Dhap Dam under the Bagmati Improvement Project. This water will be distributed to valley residents during the Melamchi Water Supply Project’s closure.

Fiscal Nepal |
Friday June 21, 2024, 10:51:25 AM |

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