Saturday, February 16, 2008

KUKL to hand over 100 public taps to communities


RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, February 15:
In a bid to encourage communities to be responsible for wise use of water supplied through public taps, the newly formed Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) is all set to hand over the management of such taps to the user communities themselves.
The KUKL is at present launching a pilot project to repair and hand over the management of 100 of the 1,300 public taps to the communities, after which the user groups will be authorised to collect a nominal amount of money for use of the water.
Dr Divas Bahadur Basnyat, a consultant for Low-Income Consumers Support Unit (LICSU) of KUKL, told this daily today that 100 public taps will be converted into community taps in three months.
He said that the LICSU intends to mend as many taps as possible, but now is concentrating on 100 taps, mainly in the areas settled by squatters and other low-income groups, where they cannot afford to buy individual taps.
The process had already started as a project of Asian Development Bank funded unit which will be continued in the future. As per the initial programme, at least 15 public taps in the areas including Banshighat, Kholchapakha, Dhikuti, Basundhara, Dhalko, Chyasal and others have already been mended he said.
Mending of a tap costs Rs 60,000 to Rs 75,000, he said.
"The idea is to try and make consumers responsible for wise use of each drop of water. Once they become member of the consumers' group, they make wise use of water, which means helping provide water to others as well," he added.
The LICSU has also managed local community taps with storage tanks, so that they can collect water when the locals do not need and then supply to them when there is shortage of water.
Sumitra M Gurung, leader of the consulting and coordinating team for constructing community tap, from Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, said the LICSU promise is not feasible. "The LICSU has planned to charge nominal Rs 5 for 45 litres. It sounds good, but since it is not cost effective, it is not going to be sustainable," she said.
Lumanti is now helping fix locations for the 100 community taps and is also forming consumers' group for the taps.
Published: February 16, 2008 12:00 am On: Nepal

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