Nepal Water 2013/14

Project to provide water to villages in Nepal

Nepal Water Projects 2013/14

(See Slide Show Above too)

Mark Townsend visited Nepal in November 2013 for a fact finding mission with Richard Backwell from the Okhle Village Trust (OVT) and Richard Brind from Dorchester Casterbridge Rotary Club.

The villages visited are all in the Tanahun District of Central Nepal. A 6-7 hour drive west from Kathmandu to Dumre on tarmac then a 2 hour drive north on unmade roads, across a river with no bridge and steeply up into the hills in a very uncomfortable 4WD local bus.

The work in the villages is overseen locally by Bimal Gurung. Richard Backwell and Mark first met him in 2002 when he was the guide on a trek in the Langtang National Park and over two weeks they got to know him very well. He told them about Okhle his village and the need for water. Richard took this on board and started the Okhle Village Trust.

Much work has already been accomplished by the OVT such as water supplies for Bimal's home village of Okhle but also surrounding villages of Raipali, Abaje, Ghalegaun, Kot Guan and Gahateri. Plus books and materials for schools, clothes and sewing machines.

In previous years our club has made donations to the OVT and Bimal has even visited our club. More recently Casterbridge Rotary were directly involved in funding projects at Kot Guan and Gahateri.

The villages are very poor and many villagers live in poverty. On this visit there were requests for help with four water projects and two community centres. All of these projects could not be undertaken. On behalf of Portland and Casterbridge Rotary we (Richard Brind and Mark) decided our goal would be to help fund two priority ones - Raile and Madkina. There is a great need for clean drinking water and this is where we focussed our attention. The OVT is supporting another two water projects but the community centres had been decided against.

Raile

A village called Raile. It is situated west of Okhle village itself and is a 2 hour walk away. We were made very welcome. There are 50 houses with a population of 300-350. There are two small springs above the village and during the two months of the monsoon season there is enough water to fill a small (6000 litre) leaky ancient concrete water tank with a single tap. For the remaining ten months the villagers have to walk to a tap in the nearby village of Chahare and purchase water from them. Every drop of water for drinking, washing, toilet flushing, irrigation etc. has to be carried by hand. The centre of the village is 0.5 km from Chare. With poor flow, queues at the tap the round trip can take up to 60 minutes for each container of water. For the group of houses at the top of the village there is an additional 51m climb (equivalent to a 17 storey building!). The lower parts of the village are 49 m below the road, so there is the climb out unloaded and descent on return with the water. The remaining dozen houses are only 32 m below the road but 1 km distant meaning a 3 km round trip.

The project was to:

1. Build a concrete a collecting chamber at the source spring. There is some plastic piping to the village tank used during the monsoon, but needs replacing, The area is infested with leeches and Mark personally removed 25 climbing up his boots trying to gain access to his legs!

2. Build a 30,000 Litre concrete water tank above the village. This would fill during the monsoon, then with replenishment from the spring during the dry season will be enough to supply the village all the year round when used with care.

3. Build 5 taps. These are concrete structures obviously with a tap, but also a concrete base and drain so that washing may be done locally at the tap. One at the level of the tank for the upper part of the village. One at the road for the central village. Two more below for the lower parts of the village and one a kilometre away for the outreach part of the village.

4. Connecting plastic pipe work from source springs to holding tank and then to the five taps.

5. Labour. Much work undertaken by the villagers themselves such as digging foundations for taps and tank also trenches for the pipes at no cost. Skilled labour however required for constructing the tank, in particular for rendering the inside to ensure that the coats are put on seamlessly to avoid cracking on drying.

The cost was £5,000.00.

Work started at the beginning of January 2014 and was completed by the end of March. It was completed within the budget.

Madkina

The second project was at Madkina a short distance from Raile. 26 houses 130 population. They have a similar problem in that they have to walk 300m distance and 37m descent to a shared source (so no charge as they have the right of access) in the dry season, but the round trip can take up to an hour with poor flow. There is a source immediately above the village only during the monsoon. A 30,000 litre tank would fill in the monsoon, and although it is dry the rest of the time it would be sufficient to keep the village in water all year round. They can manage on 100 - 150 litres per day only! The infrastructure required is only a tank with attached tap and minimal piping as the monsoon source is adjacent. At a cost of £1500.00. Work completed by the end of September 2014.

Fund Raising

Portland Rotary linked with Casterbridge Rotary to raise funds with the Okhle Village Trust (OVT) for the above two projects. The OVT also has two other projects of additional tanks at Ghalegaun and Raipali to meet their needs.

We raised funds by holding a barn dance. Casterbridge supported us in this. We also supported Casterbridge in a joint fund raising event of a Nepali evening in April. Our two clubs submitted an application for a district grant. We requested £1000.00 and were delighted to receive the full amount. With other fund raising events we reached our target of £6,500

To achieve these goals has transformed the lives of the villagers in Raile and will do in Madkina. Not only with the time commitment and heavy load of carrying ever drop of water from outside source to village, but also in improved hygiene and health due to having not only clean drinking water but enough water to be able to flush toilets and for washing.