How is the state of drinking water projects following the earthquake?
The earthquake damaged over 5000 water schemes all over the country in 41 districts. In 14 most affected districts, there were greater damages. The monetary loss is estimated to be 8 billion rupees. The damages included reservoir, pipeline and intake. The quake also affected protection walls constructed at sources of water. During the rehabilitation period, there is the need to take special considerations.
How will it affect the MDG target?
Nepal has already met MDG target in drinking water. But the quake will affect the national target to provide water for all by 2017 and sanitation. As quake destroyed more than half a million houses along with drinking water and toilets, the campaign to declare Nepal as open defecation free zone by 2017 will be unlikely to be met. We are coordinating with clusters and suggesting them to construct toilets along with new houses. There is the need to have an integrated approach now.
What is the effect of the earthquakes on the foreign-funded projects?
A drinking water project in Gorkha was damaged and there were a few more damaged in western region. A drinking water treatment plant, which was constructed under JICA’s support, in Ilam was also damaged. There was also some damage in water treatment plant in Jhapa. We have already received all the details and data on the damages. According to estimates, we have lost 18 billion rupees' equivalent in damage on drinking water projects. This excludes the projects by other offices.
How will ODF go now?
We have been making a good progress in drinking water ODF campaign. We have already declared 26 districts as ODF. We are planning to declare a few more districts as ODF by July 16. In drinking water projects, the pace of completion was impressive last year. We have received 7.6 billion rupees in annual budget last year under various titles. We have already spent 96 percent of disbursement money. We will complete 150 projects by the end of this fiscal year.
What is the state of Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation sector projects?
Under the second phase, 21 projects are under construction. Out of them, 11 projects have already been completed in first phase of construction and it is now in the second phase of operation and maintenance. In totality, water and sanitation sector is making a good progress.
How do you see the supply of quality of water under the first, second and third phases of Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project?
We have been running various programs to improve the quality of water. The projects completed under first and second phases of Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project are supplying the water as per the standards set by Nepal’s Standards Trademark. We are also working to improve the quality of drinking water throughout the country. We have already completed a number of projects. Along with these, we are also launching several programs to maintain the quality of drinking water. As the Third Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project has already been launched from this fiscal year, it aims to improve the sanitation and drinking water projects. We are working to provide drinking water through small and medium projects. We are also working to improve quality of water.
How much budget has been allocated for the coming year?
For the coming year, we have a budget of 8.2 billion rupees. We are expecting to receive the budget within the limit. Our budget will also be based on PDNA. We will also receive additional budgets.