After a daylong visit to water treatment plant at Dhulikhel, Lubhu team participated in exposure visits to water treatment plants at Sidhipur and Sainbu Panipokhari, Sainbu as a continuity to the capacity building on different techniques on water treatment on December 25, 2011under the facilitation of peri-urban research team at Nepal Engineering College. A total of 22 participants (6 females and 16 males) participated in the visit.
The water source for Sidhipur is also a river and has boulder filled intake constructed 3km away from the filtration tank. Mr. Krishna Kumar Maharjan and the technician Mr. Rabi Kumar Maharjan from Sidhipur Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Committee (SDWSSC) facilitated the participants briefing them both the management and the technical parts. The Sidhipur DWSSC was initiated in 2028 B.S (1971 A.D) and 52 public taps were operated under the local initiation through ground water supply. It was in 2051/52 B.S (1994/1995 A.D), when epidemics of water borne disease out broke in the area and the need of filtration plant was seriously considered. Along with the practice of SODIS and Chlorination under the promotion of ENPHO- an NGO, the socially active local people simultaneously started getting self-mobilized for the arrangement of funding organization. The INGOs including Water AID, Rotary club and UN-Habitat showed interest in supporting the water management project in Sidhipur and ultimately the project initiated under the support of UN-Habitat at an financial support of around 20 millions however the clause laid was the area and labour has to be managed by local. Filtration tank was constructed in 2062 B.S (2005 A.D) and completed in almost 2 and half years due to the political turmoil of then. Currently, Sidhipur DWSSC been supplying water through 1088 private taps and 270 new taps are under demand. The water treatment plant has been constructed with 20 years design period and stands on premises of 2 ropani 4 aanas (12320 Sq. ft). Two reservoir tanks of 2.5 lakh litres and 50,000 litres have been constructed but have not yet been under function.
It has been administratively managed through 35 member broad committee and 11 member management committee and 3 technicians (1plumber and 2 assistant plumbers). The facilitator Mr. Krishna Kumar Maharjan explained the involvement of local labor and monitoring though joint involvement of funding organization, local committee and involved engineers have been means in maintaining the cost effectiveness and transparency to gain trust and support from local inhabitants and political bodies. He further recalled the perseverant efforts made by the water resource committee to arrange for the funding and then meeting the clauses laid by them; suggesting the participants from Lubhu to be self mobilized for solving their water woes. Sidhipur DWSSC has been currently serving only the private taps and Rs.9000/- tap is being collected as installation cost for the local people while Rs.20,000/- tap for immigrants. It has been following a strict graded tariff system and charging Rs.50/- for 7 units as minimum charge (1unit=1000 litres), at the rate of Rs. 12/unit for 8-10 units, Rs. 15 per unit for 11-15 units and Rs.20 per unit for consumption above 15 units.
Regarding the technical designing of Sidhipur water treatment plant, water has been passed from intake to 3 filtration tanks, starting from tube settler to slow sand filter and chlorinated through dropping method at the rate of 350ml/min prior to the distribution of water to public. The slow sand filter consists of vertical layering of gravels of 30cm, overlaid by chips of 40 cm and washed sand of 1m height and using electric pump of 7.5 Hp. The tube settler consisted of frame of GI-pipes of 30cm height inclined at 60 degrees to the base. As per the resource persons, the daily report of residual chlorine in chlorinated water prior to distribution and at the last household has been showing good results to confirm water free from bacterial contamination. The treatment plant has to be technically cleaned in every 2 years but due to high turbidity condition of their source, this rate has been much higher as much as 3-4 times per year in their case.
Extractable water yield currently in this source is 6-6.5 l/sec and has been supplying 24 hours water service daily. This water supply has been jointly supported by Department of Water Supply and Sewerage and ENPHO in daily monitoring the water quality and the supply has been facilitated with all laboratory services and offered the Lubhu team to provide the necessary help in testing their water quality. As per the facilitators the consumer's satisfaction rate has been good except during rainy seasons. As this scheme has been lacking of the sedimentation tanks, very limited water is supplied during rainy season or even ceased for almost a week until the intake be cleaned manually. The facilitators shared this as a weak point of the system and considered the limited knowledge among the local people and the application of the theoretical knowledge with less consideration to the practical situation by the engineers as a cause of the current problem. The Sidhipur teams have been working for managing the resources for the construction of sedimentation tank to provide uninterruptable year round water supply in the area.
Mr. Krishna Kumar Maharjan shared about their visits prior to operation of their project and considered the visit of Lubhu as a need based visit and encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity in solving their problem. He also showed willingness in sharing the details designs and cost breakdown in constructing different infrastructures which the Lubhu team will definitely have to adopt as per the current market situation and their resource strengths.
In the second half of the day, the exhibition team headed towards Sainbu Panipokhari water treatment plant at Bhaisepati. Engineers Mr. Ram Krishna Karki and Mr. Ram Mani Bogati shared the historical background of the water supply. This was a large scale project monitored from Government of Nepal. It has been tapping water from spring source, feeding water to Pharping Hydropower of 450kW, as a major water supplier serving Lalitpur district after the mentioned power supply got closed in 2037 B.S. (1980 A.D) and from a holy pond Seshnarayan in Pharping. Both sources being spring source, water has been highly preferred by the consumers and water treatment plant was installed only after 2045 B.S. (1988 A.D). This treatment plant included roughing filter to remove the suspended particles and chlorination for bacterial disinfection. This is a part of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), the water utility of Kathmandu valley and with reservoirs of 5.4 million litres, it has been supplying water to the major section of Lalitpur district since 2037 B.S., treated water from 2045 B.S.
The participants from Lubhu considered Sidhipur water supply as a common to their need and vision and consulted the facilitators from the second site to suggest for additional water treatment plants that is comparable to Lubhu. Mr. Ram Krishna Karki with his familiarity to the situations at Lubhu suggested on considering the feasibility study of the Deep boring (265m ) done by Kathmandu Valley Town Development committee as an alternative. This was discarded by Town Development Committee about 15 years back due to high sand concentration. He proposed using the modern technique of compressor filter to test the feasibility of water and suggested in case of positive result could serve as long term water source. However, as per him the cost involved would be around o.1 million, therefore the willingness among the participants to undertake the test was considerably low. Mr. Ram Bahadur Shrestha, Chairperson of Lubhu water resource committee has shown interest in making the necessary follow up for the alternative source and the final decisions is yet to come.
With good understanding of the past and present situations of the neighboring Sidhipur VDC, understanding the consumer's perspectives and challenges incurred can be expected to be practically helpful for the Lubhu people. Having rapport built with the facilitators from Sidhipur and Sainbu Water Treatment plants, the Lubhu team will be consulting the resource persons for further information.