The severe water crisis due to the inability of Nepal Water Supply Corporation to meet the water demand of the people in the Kathmandu Valley has been further aggravated as the sources of spring water, which are alternative sources of water for the people in the capital, are slowly drying up over the years. Estimates are that Nepal Water Supply Corporation has been able to supply less than 50 per cent of the total water demand in the capital.
The spring water sources meet a significant share of the rest of the demand. Until a decade ago, there were more than 500 stone spouts in the three districts of the Kathamndu Valley, from which people used to collect water for their daily needs. Even today, many people rely on these traditional sources of water or dhunge dharas. Now these natural sources of water are drying up and many such stone spouts have already disappeared in several places. This is mainly due to the unmanaged and perennial garbage problem and rapid construction works. The other cause, as experts have pointed out, is the over pumping out of underground water. It has been reported that the underground water table in the Kathamndu Valley is going down every year due to heavy and excess pumping of underground water. This has already sounded an alarm bell in some parts of the Valley.
Environmentalists and other people are getting more concerned and are urging the government to take steps to regulate underground water pumping. Water is getting a precious and scarce commodity, which is a big paradox in Nepal as the country is the second richest nation in water resources in the world.
Stone spouts in the Kathmandu Valley are the symbols of our civilization. The disappearance of these waterspouts is not only a matter of water crisis but also a serious concern about our civilization. The famous Sundhara, which used to provide water for a large number of people, has already dried up. Thus, there must be serious efforts to conserve these traditional stone spouts in the Kathmandu Valley as they carry religious, historical and archeological significance and they have long been the source of water for many people especially the disadvantaged sections of the society, who have no access to piped water at home.
But these natural spouts are drying up because of heavy pumping of underground water and haphazard construction. It would thus do well if the concerned agencies pay due attention to these urban woes and take necessary steps to check the activities that are not environment friendly and give rise to haphazard urbanization.