As monsoons arrive in Nepal, authorities at the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) are concerned if last year’s floods at Melamchi River is going to repeat. Last year, on June 15, a swollen Melamchi River wreaked havoc in Melamchi Bazar, and several communities living downstream. More than twenty lives were lost, hundreds of homes swept away, and more than 600 people displaced. The floods caused significant infrastructure damage as well, including some damages to the headworks of the Melamchi Water Supply Project
Luckily for MWSP, their 26.5 kilometre tunnel which supplies residents of Kathmandu with water had been closed for testing. This year, fearing overflow, and the possible damage an overflow could cause to the tunnel, authorities have decided to close the tunnel, effectively closing the Melamchi tap on residents of Kathmandu Valley until weather conditions get better.
MWSP has assured valley residents that they will continue to supply Kathmanduites with water from the Bagmati River after treating it at the Sundarijal Water Treatment Plant.
Built at a cost of USD 800 million, and envisioned almost three decades ago, the Melamchi Project was supposed to alleviate the chronic water shortage in Kathmandu Valley on a sustainable, long-term basis, and to improve the health and well-being of its inhabitants. Severely delayed, the project finally began supplying water from 2021 – however the June floods affected water supply for another year.
Melamchi Water was finally delivered to Kathmandu from April, 2022 – however, has been closed again for an estimated four months.