More than 500 households in Tumbdada and Daga in the rural municipality of Badigad-1, Baglung do not have access to drinking water. The only water supply for the 530 households in the two villages is 50 water taps installed about 30 years ago.
“The water source for the taps is a natural spring located about 12 kilometers away,” said Rem Bahadur Bhujel, vice chairman of the consumer committee. “Villagers suffer severe water shortages during the dry season or if the supply line is damaged.”
According to Bhujel, none of the 530 households in the two villages is able to meet their water needs.
Residents head to the taps at 4 a.m. to fetch water, but most return with empty buckets as the taps dry up soon after, says Sita BK of Tumbdada.
“The population of the villages has increased over the years and the current water supply is not sufficient,” BK said. “My children have missed so many days of school because I take them to fetch water in the morning. More than 10 households line up to get water from a single tap.
Tempers flare every morning at these community taps, leading to disputes, says Bhujel, vice president of the consumer committee.
“People fight over issues like someone knocking over their bucket while waiting in line or cutting in the queue,” Bhujel said. “This has created a climate of discord and mistrust among the villagers.”
According to Bhujel, Tutiphed, Gahate and Simalchaur, among other settlements, suffer from water scarcity, especially from April to June. The old pipes are leaking in several places, depriving the inhabitants of the little water they draw from these pipes.
According to Bom Bahadur Thapa, chairman of Badigad-1 Rural Municipality, the drinking water and sanitation division office has initiated works to improve water supply in the area by constructing water reservoirs. water and laying pipes, among other things.
“The water from the spring is running out and we are looking for other alternatives to fetch water. So far, we have not found a concrete solution to the problem,” Thapa said.
“Sanitation is poor in the villages due to lack of water. Almost all houses have toilets but none of them are used.”
Some water reservoirs are being built to alleviate the shortage, but they have not been completed due to lack of funds, Thapa said.
Thapa says the Rural Municipality has not hired workers for the construction of the reservoirs, especially after a worker died at the site two months ago.
Water shortage has also affected the functioning of Khadga Devi Secondary School. The school, which has 700 students, does not have a single working toilet with water supply.
“There is only one tap in the school, which is not enough to accommodate 700 students and several teachers every day,” said local resident Durga Thapa. “The service launched a campaign to stop open defecation, but it failed miserably due to water shortages.”