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Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis

 
 

Despite recent achievements in bringing water to a growing percentage of the population, Nepal continues to suffer from a water crisis, with many people still unable to access to clean water sources. For communities in the remote mountains and hills, fetching water can mean hours of walking for just one pot. In the Terai plains, where water sources are easier to access, the water may not be safe to drink or cook with, because of contamination by industrial and agricultural chemicals. And in Nepal’s large cities, including Kathmandu, high rates of urbanization are over-saturating the existing water supply systems.

Although access to water does depend on geography, those groups that have been historically marginalized in Nepal are also those with the least access: lower castes such as Dalits, indigenous communities, and women. In the country’s remote areas, Dalits and indigenous communities tend to live in more isolated areas, often above water sources, where fetching water is even more taxing on the community’s resources. And as fetching water is often considered a woman’s job, the lack of access to water has a disproportionate impact on women and girls.

Throughout Nepal, projects are being implemented to ensure equitable access to water, with notable achievements. In 1990, only 46 percent of the population had access to drinking water; today, 84 percent does. Access to water can have a transformative impact on communities, leaving more time for growing vegetables and other livelihood opportunities, attending school and studying, and taking care of children. It also means that communities can maintain better sanitation practices, thereby reducing illnesses such as diarrhea, which particularly impact children. However, with as many as 75 percent of Nepal’s water supply systems in need of repair, experts agree that more must be done to address this crisis.

Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
Badal (left), 13 years old, drinks water while Barsa (right), 8 years old, brushes her teeth from a water tap installed by the organisation Lumanti before going to school in Pragatitol neighbourhood on the outskirts of Itahari, Nepal on February 25, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
Balram Chaudhary, 18 years old, bathes from one of the water taps installed by the organisation Lumanti in Pragatitol neighbourhood on the outskirts of Itahari, Nepal on February 25, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
Kriti (left), Radhika (center) and Nirmala Chaudhari (right), 35 years old, remove weeds from a millet plot in Pragatitol neighbourhood on the outskirts of Itahari, Nepal on February 25, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
NEWAH Water Quality Officer Sujan Duwadi performs a water quality test on one of the new taps installed by the NEWAH organisation in Batase, Nepal on February 28, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
A woman drinks a glass of water during a community meeting organised by the NEWAH organisation to explain the importance of using clean water in Batase, Nepal on February 28, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
Balram Chaudhary, 18 years old, washes his hair from one of the water taps installed by the organisation Lumanti in Pragatitol neighbourhood on the outskirts of Itahari, Nepal on February 25, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
A woman bathes in a pond in Shankharpur neighbourhood on the outskirts of Itahari, Nepal on February 25, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
Dilmaya Magar, 42 years old, and her husband Bhim Magar, 53 years old, look at one of the posters put up by NEWAH organisation in Rauta Khanitar, Nepal on March 01, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
An elderly woman carrying leaves on her back walks by a fence where a basket filled with toothbrushes and toothpaste is hanging in Batase, Nepal on February 27, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
Addressing Nepal’s Water Crisis
Nanda Kumari Magar, 40 years old, drinks water from one of the taps installed by the NEWAH organisation in Batase, Nepal on February 27, 2015
Image Credit: Omar Havana / WaterAid
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