When the water dried up: UNDP helps a community restore its access to water

Apr 21, 2016

Community celebrate the resupply of water with UNDP assistance at Patlekhet, Kavre

When the earthquake struck Nepal one year ago 25 April, the community of Kimpokhari in Kavre lost many loved ones, homes and infrastructure. They also lost a precious resource: their water source.  

Despite the widespread destruction to their homes and livelihoods, for residents like Devika Bishworkarma, losing the water source was the most damaging.

“The entire village was affected by this,” she said. “The fears of recurring aftershocks were jarring so I clung to my small child and had to walk for three hours to another village to fetch a vessel of water.”

The earthquake destroyed irrigation canals, micro-hydro equipment and drinking water pumps, but it didn’t matter, as the flow of water through this infrastructure was lost.  The health and safety and of the community was at risk.

“It triggered the risk of forced migration for the entire village,” said school teacher, Janak Bishworkarma. “The drying of the water source would mean we would have to leave our village where we have lived for centuries.”

Restoring the water supply was one way the United Nations Development Programme aided in the recovery efforts in Nepal.

After a new water source was discovered and a feasibility study carried out by others, UNDP, with funding from the Government of Mauritius, reconstructed a water tank, piped it into the community and helped to restore the water source of this vulnerable community and helped to stabilize the largely agricultural livelihood landscape.

“We have nothing to give in return for the help we received except our two words, ‘thank you’ for helping us pump water to our settlement from 300 meters below the cliff using rocket motors,” Janak said.

UNDP’s earthquake recovery programme spans three years and focuses on livelihoods and poverty alleviation, governance, debris management and the environment while also supporting the national government’s National Reconstruction Authority.

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