Feenzu Sherpa

The entire globe is suffering at the hands of a nobel virus at the moment. COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Helath Organization.

A total of 339,182 people have been infected with the virus till date with 14,703 deaths and 99,014 people recovered after medical attention. The alarming rate of the outbreak is causing chaos around the world. While only one Nepali national was infected with coronavirus and returned home after being cured, a second case was reported on 23 March.

Even though the pandemic has yet to engulf Nepal like other countries, the fact that it’s cure has not yet been discovered is a matter of concern for the public.

People in other countries are panic buying and grocery stores are turning empty. Online scams have also become rampant with people trying to buy products like hand-sanitizers and toilet papers online. In addition, the artificial shortage of daily goods in Nepal is also adding to the panic.

The situation has led to various questions among people about the provision of clean water, especially when more than half of the population in Kathmandu depends on water tanks and mineral water jars for drinking as well as other household purposes.

According to Senior Division Engineer of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) Prabhat Shrestha, their team is formulating plans to deliver clean and safe drinking water while also ensuring smooth supply of water to individual houses in case of coronavirus outbreak in Nepal.

Shrestha explained that the provision for water supply will remain as usual for the time being and their team will provide safety precautions as well as other necessary equipment in case of coronavirus outbreak in Nepal.

Nepal government’s Central Bureau of Statistics has estimated that the daily demand for water in the Kathmandu Valley is around 360 million litres, but the supply is less than half— approximately 76 million litres a day in the dry season and 123 million litres a day during rainy season.

For the time being, private water tanker and mineral water jar companies are bridging the gap between demand and supply. When asked what if these private companies stop providing or refuse to provide water in case of an outbreak, Shrestha said, “We will provide training and motivate tanker water delivery personnel of private sectors to enusre regular supply. If nothing works, the Ministry of Water Supply will take necessary action. We are even ready to seize the keys of their vehicles and distribute water if push comes to shove.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, US, “The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water yet. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should inactivate the COVID-19 virus.”

Furthermore, Shrestha also said that they will inspect different hospitals to check the status of Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) among COVID-19 (suspected) patients. “With the approval of the Ministry of Health and Population, we will check if the area where (suspected) COVID-19 patients are admitted is disinfected daily, how the healthcare faculty members are entering the premises and how the laundry at healthcare facilities is managed. Disinfecting surface areas, hands and clothes with alcohol based sanitizers is advised to avert the virus’s infection at this point of time,” he said.