For the residents of Chautara, the pain given by earthquakes of April and May is unbearable as the quakes had not only destroyed their towns and homes, they destroyed their very lifeline, the water supply system.
For a population of over 100,000, the water supply from Jugal-Thalkhark Holche pipeline is the lifeline of Chautara, the district headquarter of Sindhupalchowk.
Although the houses and buildings were destroyed and hundreds of people got killed by the April and May earthquakes, the damage made by the earthquake to the drinking water project and pipeline virtually left Chautara as a dead city.
Two weeks after the earthquake, the pipeline was temporarily restored with just half its capacity. The city’s lifeline was in the doldrums. That is where JICA stepped in, to revive the city by rehabilitating the pipeline.
Under the project on rehabilitation and recovery from Nepal Earthquake, Japan government agreed to provide Nepal with 4 billion Japanese Yen to three different projects. As per the agreement Japan was to provide 673 million Japanese Yen to rehabilitation of water transmission system in Chautara. Under this project, the water transmission pipeline would be replaced.
“This is a very important project as this is the lifeline of Chautara. After completion of the project, we expect that there will be water in 800 water taps as in the past,” said Narayan Giri, Water Supply Technician of District Water and Sanitation Division, Sindhupalchwok.
The earthquake damaged many parts of the 22-kilometer transmission line. “We have just temporarily adjusted the pipeline. Even the water intake and storage and water treatment plant have been badly damaged,” said Sambhu Khanal, engineer at District Drinking Water and Sanitation Division.
According to JICA, the project will be completed within one and a half years. As Japan and Nepal are celebrating the 60 years of establishment of their Diplomatic Relations, Japan government, despite badly suffering from earthquakes itself in the recent days, is supporting Nepal in various areas of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
“As Chautara is one of the badly hurt areas with ninety percent of damage of the houses, rehabilitation of pipeline in Chautara drinking water project will revive the city again. Water users of Chautara are very grateful to the government of Japan for coming to support them at the time of crisis,” said Subhash Karmacharya, chairman of Chautara Water Users Group and president of CPN-UML district Committee. "As water is the lifeline, all of the party leaders are together to support the project.”
Along with the drinking water project, under the quick impact project, JICA is also supporting the construction of the women and children's office facility in Chautara, an earthquake resilient housing demo, safety awareness for households, village development committee buildings, Barbishe area police office building, health post building, transportation and irrigation facilities between Bhotechaur and Melamchi, water supply facilities in Tipeni area in Bhoenalan and Lagarche, small farmer agriculture product collection center in Bhotechaur, and the Distinct Agriculture Development Office Building.
“Following the destruction of our children's welfare center office building, we are working in a very difficult situation. There is just a small transit room for children. We expect that the completion of the new building under JICA’s support will ease the present problems,” said Sandhya Singh, Women Development Officer of Sindhupalchowk.
As JICA is also supporting livelihood programs, the construction of agriculture buildings and rehabilitation of irrigation project will have significant impacts. “After the completion of six buildings, agriculture sector in Sindhupalchowk area will see and drastic changes. The new buildings which JICA is to construct will greatly enhance the capacity of storage of seeds and other facilities,” said Hem Sharma, chief of district Agriculture Development Office.
As Japan and Nepal are celebrating six decades of establishment of diplomatic relations, earthquake victims of Sindhupalchwok districts have a reason to rejoice as have their brethren in Rasuwa, Dhading and Gorkha where JICA has been launching various programs and projects under to Build Back Better project.