Melamchi is to start testing and commissioning of tunnel, treatment plant and bulk distribution system from the second week of July.
Passed through various upheavals in the last 15 years, Melamchi Drinking Water Project is now the final stage of operation. As the project is starting the testing and commissioning of over 27 kilometers tunnel, treatment plants and new water distribution systems from the second week of July, the taps of some parts of Kathmandu valley will receive the water from Melamchi.
Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation Bina Magar announced that the testing and the commissioning of Tunnel, water treatment plants and other distributions systems will start from Mid-July. She said that the people of Kathmandu will start to receive the water within a few months.
Testing includes backwashing mechanism, bulk distribution systems which comprise 54 km of mostly gravity-fed mains for bulk water transmission, ranging from 300 mm to 1400 mm diameter and the various distribution network laid across the Valley.
Reporting the progress of the report of the project in a meeting of the Development and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives, She said that the ministry has already formulated a plan to complete the construction of all physical infrastructures, testing of new bulk distribution systems in a stage-wise manner. Minister Magar has also said that the testing of entire infrastructures including tunnel, bulk water distribution system is a long and complex process.
Minister Magar said that the construction work is now going smoothly and many physical works will complete within a month. She said that testing of the tunnel and bulk distribution systems is technically a complex process and it will time consuming.
Despite 82 days long lockdown caused by COVID-19 shortage of labor, Melamchi Drinking Water Project has made a major breakthrough in finishing the tunnel and other construction works. Financed by the Asian Development Bank, it takes almost two decades to make it operational.
Attending the meeting, secretary at the Ministry Madhav Belbase said that there needs to maintain certain standard technical protocol in commissioning and testing the tunnel, bulk water distribution systems.
He also said that the testing of bulk distribution systems will also start in a phase-wise manner. He added that the distributions of water will start during the entire technical process if the pipe system works.
Lawmakers had inquired about the date for the arrival of water from the Melamchi River. Chairperson of the committee Kalyani Kumari Khadka said that the deadline of the project was postponed multiple times therefore the government must clearly announce the completion date.
The government had announced to complete the construction of the project by the end of this fiscal year (mid-July 2020) and test the tunnel.
The committee had directed the ministry to implement an effective management system for the distribution of water and address the demands of the Sindhupalchowk locals where the headworks and most of the tunnel are located.
The project has made about 97 percent progress so far with the completion of an alternative water diversion systems and water treatment plants while infrastructure connecting the tunnel and treatment center is about to complete.
Headworks construction has witnessed 65 percent progress. The work to construct the headworks had begun after the Italian contractor CMC fled the country leaving the job incomplete.
Of the structures of headworks, construction of cofferdam, DI pipeline and six hydro-mechanical gates are completed while the erection of hoists and control panels and construction of stilling basin and intake is under construction. Out of 27.584-meter length of the tunnel, it is almost at finishing and ready for testing.
The Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) is considered to be the most viable long-term alternative to ease the chronic water shortage situation within the Kathmandu Valley.
According to the Melamchi project, the Project is designed to divert about 170 MLD of freshwater to Kathmandu Valley from the Melamchi River in Sindhupalchowk district. Augmenting this supply by adding about a further 170 MLD each from the Yangri and Larke rivers, which lie in the upstream proximity of Melamchi is also being investigated as future supply sources.
The water treatment plant will treat raw water coming through a 26.5 Km tunnel from Melamchi River for the Melamchi water supply project. The ultimate capacity of the water treatment plant will be 510 mld. The plant will be developed in three phases, each of 170 Ml/d.
Asian Development Bank (ADB), Government of Nepal (GoN), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)/ , Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Nordic Development Fund (NDF).
Started with a cost of 355 million dollars, ADB and GoN are the major contributors with 45.60% and 29.10% contributions to the total budget. Other organizations such as JICA, JBIC, NDF and OPEC have also sanctioned loans to the project, each with 5.10%, 13.40%, 2.90% and 3.90% contributions to the total cost.