World Water Day, March 22, celebrated
Every year World Water Day is observed and celebrated on the 22nd of March to highlight the importance of safe water with particular theme. Focusing on this year's theme "Accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis", the Local FEDWASUN Banke, with the support of Lumanti Support Group for the Shelter under WASH SDG project, Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office Banke and Kohalpur Large Urban WSS organized an event on 22nd March, 2023 in, Kohalpur, Banke. The objective of the event was to advocate on accelerating actions to solve the water and sanitation crisis by adopting effective method in the use, consumption and management of water.
Member of House of Representatives from Banke constituency no.1, Honorable Mr. Surya Prasad Dhakal graced his presence as the Chief Guest of the event. Mayor of Kohalpur Municipality, Mr. Purna Prasad Acharya was invited as the special guest. Other invitees as the guest for the event were Chairperson of Baijanath R. Municipality Mr. Tilakram Dhakal, CAO Ms. Sangita Subedi and Deputy Mayor of Kohalpur Municipality. Mr. Tilak Neupane, Chief of Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office Banke, Er. Manish Sharma, WSSDO, Mr. Nar Bahadur Malla, Member of Central local FEDWASUN, Ms. Usha Thapa, Treasurer of Local FEDWASUN Lumbini province also attended the event. The event was chaired by Mr. Bhadra Prasad Devkota, Chairperson-Local FEDWASUN Banke.
The event was started with the National Anthem followed by one minute silence in the memory of martyrs. The coordinator of the event Mr. Yam Bahadur Rawat delivered his welcome remarks and thanked all the guests, participants for their valuable presence. Likewise, Ms. Usha Thapa, highlighted the key objectives of the event.
Mr. Tilak Neupane delivered brief presentation on district level situation of water supply systems along with financial parts, challenges and possible mitigation measures.
Mr. Naar Bahadur Malla, delivered a poem titled "Ma Pani". During the event, Interactive Discussion on "Sustainable Management of Safe Water" was conducted. The panelists at the interactive discussion were Honarable Surya Prasad Dhakal, Member of House of Representative from Banke constituency no.1, Mr. Tilak Neupane, Chief of Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office in Banke, Mayor of Kohalpur Municipality Mr. Purna Prasad Acharya, Chairperson of Kohalpur Large Urban WSS-11 Mr. Naar Bahadur Malla and Chairperson, Local FEDWASUN Banke Mr. Bhadra Prasad Devkota. The discussion was facilitated by Ms. Pabitra Pariyar, Journalist. The discussion was followed by open floor discussion for the participants. The questions covered in the discussion were on;
- Challenges faced by the Kohalpur Large Urban WSS while delivering safe drinking water to community people.
- Work that have been done to ensure the rights of people on access to safe water as fundamental rights.
- Municipal planning on providing safe water with adequate budget allocation to cover all the wards of Kohalpur.
- Actions taken in water resources management to solve the water supply crisis.
- Responsibility of monitoring of water quality test of WSS.
During the discussion session, Mayor of Kohalpur Municipality Mr. Purna Prasad Acharya emphasized on having coordination by Water Supply and Sanitation Division office Banke while allocating budgets in water supply systems of municipality. He shared about the plan of establishing system under municipality to bring all the scattered water supply system in municipality. While talking about the work carried out by municipality for delivering safe water, he shared that municipality has allocated NPR 20 lakhs for bringing treatment plant in Birat WSS and provided financial supports to Rajhena WSS for expansion of water pipeline in the communities.
The Chairperson of Kohalpur Large Urban WSS-11 Mr. Naar Bahadur Malla, shared 5000 households of Kohalpur Municipality have received the access to safe drinking water from their water supply system. He spoke about the upcoming plans of bringing the Bheri-diversion project interconnected it with all the functional water supply systems of banke district to minimize the crisis of water mostly in summer season. And, request all the responsible stakeholders to have their attention on this kind of plans.
On the occasion, Chief of Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office, Banke Mr. Tilak Neupane, says multiple factors lead for non-functionality of water supply system. Factors like, willingness of community contributing for distribution of water pipelines in community, road construction leading to breakage of water pipelines, inadequate budget, etc. He shared that Water Supply field has not been recognized as important as other sector. And, stressed on having good inter-sector coordination to mitigate the factors.
Delivering the closing remarks Mr. Bhadra Prasad Devkota, Chairperson, Local FEWASUN Banke, expressed gratitude for fruitful discussion done by the stakeholders and investing their valuable time in the event and observing together the importance of sustainable management of safe water to solve the water supply crisis.
It is observed that the event has made the key stakeholders emphasized on finding the solutions/ways on management of water resources to minimize the water supply crisis. The event has also provided an opportunity for stakeholders to identify the hidden gaps and resolve them to ensure the access to safe drinking water to community people. During the event, the stakeholders have fruitful discussion on possibility of bringing Bheri Babai Diversion Multi-purpose project to mitigate the water supply crisis in Banke District.
Prior to the formal session, free safe water from Kohalpur large urban WSS was distributed via three booths, installed in populated areas of kohalpur named Kohalpur Bus Park, Chauraha and Chapalgaudi. The message on the importance of safe drinking water for living health life was conveyed among the people. More than 1000 bottles of safe water were distributed to the people.
Total of 67 participants (25 female and 42 male) including from representatives from municipalities, WSUC's, government organizations, journalists, and WAI partners Banke participated in the event.