Despite being renowned as one of the richest countries in water resources with the snowcaps of the Himalayas, Nepal has not been able to utilize its tremendous water resources. Agriculture, which is the major occupation of Nepalese people, has a water requirement that is very high throughout the entire year. Besides the need of fresh drinking water for human consumption, the importance of surface water sources is also high because of the country's dependency on hydropower electricity.
Today, Kathmandu, the capital city, is already facing an overwhelming tragedy of clean potable water scarcity with only a few hours of water supply per week and blackout of more than 12 hours per day. Besides lack of quantity, quality issues are also contributing to the water crisis. Rapid population growth and direct waste disposal into the rivers within the city are the major two reasons for the depletion of both surface and ground water quality and quantity as well. Cultural and political interventions further exacerbate the issue. Various government and non-government organizations both national as well as international, are attempting to fulfill the water demand for all of the water users in the valley. However, the progress towards both quality and quantity has been slow due to lack of appropriate technology, bureaucratic entanglements and lack of finance. Not to be forgotten are the huge roles of corruption at the various levels of bureaucracy and more than a decade long political unrest.
The case in Kathmandu Valley is not so unique water crisis compared to other parts of the world. Nepal water problems are not caused by lack of the resources but for other reasons unrelated to its abundant water resources such as distribution, management and lack of infrastructures etc. In this context, this paper intends to explore the major problems and the hurdles in supply of safe and sufficient drinking water, to study and analyze the ongoing efforts to resolve the problems and to recommend the most culturally appropriate, adaptable and cost effective principles and strategies to create sustainable water management system in the Valley. The study will include surveys to determine the public perception of the water crisis, conduct interviews of water officials in the rural and urban areas of Kathmandu Valley and given an analysis of recent reports and studies from previous experts, quantification of local water availability for sustainable management and future supply.
This research will reveal some of the hidden issues behind the water crisis and direct to appropriate and cost effective solutions for developing countries like Nepal. The water budget calculation will disclose the availability of local sustainable water and provides the measures and necessity to maintain the balance in hydrological cycle which helps to assure water availability in future for the abundant water supply in Kathmandu Valley. I believe that abundant supply of safe drinking water is possible from the existing water resources if it can be used with a sustainably managed system. I hope to illuminate and clarify the issues surrounding the water crisis and make recommendations to help people move towards a more sustainable supply of potable water.