Sunday, February 13, 2011

Field visit to Matatirtha VDC

Nec peri-urban research team has been actively involved in the regular field works and preparing for stakeholders meeting to be organized in near future. One of the research sites in Kathmandu, Matatirtha VDC has been working on its updated VDC profile but with diverse official priorities and multiple local governance activities, but is still under meticulous analysis and will be taking some more time before being formally published. In the mean time, the field visit has brought forward the subtle facts about existing scenario.

Ignorance or disinterest regarding water market:

Growing water market in the VDC has been a hot potato for the entire valley and a growing concern for the national and international water professionals while it has not yet been able to drag the interest of local communities, mainly the women of middle age. They are occupied with the daily homestead; there is barely any concern about the water resource extraction and the vast economy and possible power play behind the scene. The women of quite well to do families have been diverting water from the natural spring sources by constructing a basic intake like structure and laying pipes to fetch themselves water till their home. This has been more than a decade back, with no need of corporal complexities such as registration in the VDC, has been an easy process and flashback to their daily routine. With no need to make a payment for the water use in such community or locally extended water diversion system, water accessibility to considerable households has been not much impacted by the changing social dynamism and with adequate water availability till date could justify the reason behind their disinterest toward increasingly massive water extraction.
Vulnerable do exist, vulnerability matters
Bindu K.C, a local resident of Matatirtha VDC, ward number 1 is a mother of four children. Married for over three and half decades, after the passing away of her husband, she has been raising the children all alone. This period has not been quite easy for this single mother and she has not yet been able to afford to extend the pipe water distribution to her house and depends upon the traditional stone spout for her daily water needs. The water access has been quite difficult compared to those days more a decade back when a stone spout was located nearby her house. Having no clear idea behind the causes, according to her, urbanization and the increasing concrete structures and the rampant boring and growing dug wells could be culprits causing the permanent loss of her water source, the stone spout nearby her house. Moreover, she complained about the decreasing yield of the existing stone spout and a bitter truth about complete drying of the stone spout in the recent consecutive three years during the month, Chaitra (March- April). This she thinks is due to the rainfall variability which has been more prominent in the recent years. During the drying of her water source, she fulfills her water needs from the neighboring houses which have been quite generous to her, but the problem is; the neighbors themselves also face problem due to limited water supply.
“Till these long years, I had never known of the complete drying of this stone spout but it dried completely in the last three years during the month Falgun- Chaitra (March- April). Also the water yield has been decreasing in the recent years and I need to wait for longer time to fill my bucket. This year there has been good rain so I hope this year this tap won’t dry.”
Is she the only case of victim of water related grief or a growing indication?

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