Discussing youths' role in conserving water sources
KATHMANDU, March 19: A conference on Youths’ Role in Water Resources Conservation was jointly organized by Nepalbani Network, Paschim Paaila, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) and National Youth Federation Nepal (NYFN) on March 18 at ENPHO’s office in Thapagaon, Kathmandu.
The conference was a part of the Nepal Water Week which started on March 14 and will continue till March 23.
Lokraj Awasthi, General Secretary of NYFN started the program with an introduction of Nepal Water Week, highlighting its activities – such as cleaning of cultural heritage landmarks, holding friendly football match, hiking, inter-religious assembly on water conservation, scientific conference, workshop for housewives on solid waste and wastewater management, rainwater harvesting, and groundwater recharging; and water picnic – being organized during the Water Week.
Jeevan Bhandari, News Editor of Nepalbani Network, talked about the growing interest among youths regarding water conservation as a result of water crisis and explained how media can help them inform about their roles in conserving water resources.
Bhashwor Ojha/Republica Participants listen to Megh Ale, Founder President of Nepal River Conservation Trust during the conference on Youths’ Role in Water Resources Conservation at Thapagaon, Kathmandu on Monday.
Megh Ale, Founder President of Nepal River Conservation Trust and chief guest at the event, said, “Youths aren’t change-makers yet but they are our hope,” adding, “All of us grew up reading that Nepal has 6,000 rivers and rivulets; and over 83,000MW hydroelectricity production potentials. But there’s no information and transparency regarding how many have been lost as a result of river treaties, how many are flowing and how many have run dry.”
Ale called water ‘flowing gasoline’ and said, “Human civilizations all over the world started on the banks of rivers but over the years, it has become a dividing factor. Unless we change our perception of these water resources, war is inevitable. Rivers can be uniting factors.”
Ale also talked about the River Movement and its 5-point demands to the government: Formulation of the National River Policy, declaring one river in each watershed as a protected area, and free flowing, protecting Bhote Koshi, Trishuli and its sections for adventure tourism activities and livelihood of the people, stopping direct disposal of waste, sand and gravel mining in rivers to keep them free from bulldozers and scavengers, and formulation and implementation of Rafting Information Management System (RIMS) to promote Nepal as world’s best whitewater destination.
Rajesh Adhikari, Program Manager of ENPHO, dealt with the technical aspects, delving into WHO’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. “There are three ways water is polluted – at the source, due to poor handling, and during transmission and storage.”
Participants from Youth Advisory Council Nepal, Narendra Khatiwada, Santosh Prasai and Mina Majhakoti, raised questions regarding adaptation and medication of water resources during climate change, groundwater recharging and water quality tests.
Similarly, one of the youth participants, Unnati Rawal, who is originally from Bajura, talked about the difficulty people in her village face. “People who live up in the hills have to walk for hours to fetch water even though there are plenty of water sources. The pipelines are destroyed every year due to flood and landslides.”
Alongside the issues of water pollution and inefficiency of various mechanisms undertaken by the government, such as the recently established Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), inaccessibility emerged as one of the major issues Nepali citizens are facing in terms of availing of water.