Safe Drinking Water

As we all know, water is a fundamental human need. Each person on Earth requires at least 20 to 50 liters of water a day for drinking, cooking, and simply keeping themselves clean. Water is obviously essential for our daily lives. Without water, we cannot survive. .Even for one day, we cannot live without water. If we have safe and clean water for drinking, no doubt, we will have a healthy life.

On the entire earth, water is a most important and precious thing for all human beings. And of course, every living organism needs water for survival.

Everyone loves water especially in the situation when one feels thirsty.  To stay active and energetic, one needs to consume a lot of water but it must be safe and pure. Safe drinking water keeps us alert, active all the time likewise unsafe drinking water brings lots of diseases and health problems. But the question is that are we really having safe water?

In every country, drinking water is supplied by related water suppliers either by Government or private sectors. In the context of Nepal, mostly Government has been providing drinking water. Though in the developed countries, safe and clean drinking water is taken as very important and sensitive part of human lives. So the government plays a vital role in providing safe drinking water for the public. Unfortunately, many of the poorest people in the world lack sufficient access to even water for daily lives. They are still unaware of these things.

In the context of Nepal, when we talk about water, everyone knows that Nepal is richest in water resources. We have innumerable rivers and other water resources. But the question is that are we rich in providing safe drinking water also? We have a bitter truth that still large numbers of people do not have access of even drop of drinking water, how can they have safe water to drink?

Despite rich in water resources, great numbers of Nepalese people are still using unsafe and impure water, not because they want to use it, but because they do not have other choices. They are compelled to do so. Because of that, they have to face various health problems. They are attacked by different diseases like diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, etc.  Not only in Nepal, it is the problem of every developing and poor countries. Like, in Africa, 115 people die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene and contaminated water.

According to the national census, 85 percent of Nepalese have access to drinking water. However, drinking water supplied is not always safe even when it is supplied through systemic piped water systems. When drinking water reaches our house through pipelines, we must boil it otherwise we have to face various health problems because water safety is a major concern.

Every year about 45,000 children below the age of five years die in Nepal from sanitation-related problems, and the main cause is supplies of water of poor quality.

Although every year government makes the plan and promises to improve the quality of health condition of the public through budget speech, implementation part is still not stronger. Still, public health-related concern has not been taken seriously. Yes, it is also the truth that government is trying to provide safe, fresh and pure water to the public, but it seems only urban-oriented till now. In spite of knowing that great numbers are staying in rural areas, we are very less focusing and working in grass root level. In fact, we can say, Nepal requires strong policies, legislation, institutional arrangements and regular monitoring throughout the whole country. Implementation part should be stronger.

The development of the water and sanitation sector remains a high priority of the government, and in this regard, Tenth Plan Period (2059-2064) targets to supply safe and clean water to 85 percent of the rural population and 100 percent for the urban population.

It is also the fact that whole task cannot be accomplished by government efforts alone. So different organizations like World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB),  International/National Non-Governmental Organizations (I/NGOs) are working in this sector. Different approaches are being used by the different organization.

In Nepal, due to rapid population growth, we can see dispersed wastes everywhere. Most people throw dirt and wastes wherever they like.  Because of such uncivilized act, most of the water sources are becoming polluted. Different water sources from rivers to ground sources are gradually contaminated.  So in such condition, how we can have safe drinking water? To stop such activities totally, strong rules must be implemented as soon as possible.

Responsibility, commitment, guidelines, and actions are not clearly defined within plans, policies, and legislation of government. So we need strong policies, rules, and regulations because water has the direct concern for the health of people.

Access to quality water supply is one of the fundamental requirements for sustaining human life. Without safe and good quality water, people become a victim of various water related diseases. Therefore both the government and the civil society must be serious. And must be working together will definitely give good result.· There should be co-ordination between the institutions working in Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, Government, different NGO, INGO, other related institution and public education,  safe and fresh drinking water related awareness should be given first priority. Likewise, public-private partnerships should be given preferences and the role of NGO should be made clear.

 Now in the current situation of federalism, through the Local governance Act Centres should be established. To achieve the goal of quality drinking water at the community level, we must work together from the grass root level.

However, about 20-25% of our people are still deprived of safe drinking water. The sources of water aren’t properly utilized. Water supply situation both in rural and urban areas is worsening day by day. Due to rapid population growth, industrialization and urbanization, the demand for drinking water is increasing whereas water sources are drying up due to deforestation and environmental degradation. We often see long lines of women and children waiting their turn to collect little water in towns and cities.

Villagers in rural areas need to walk hours to fetch a jarful of water. They are bearing lots of problems to make just a bucket of water. In such condition, availability of safe drinking water is like a dream to people. Without water, no life can sustain ever. Whole Nepal and mostly Kathmandu, has become a victim of water shortage for a long time because the valley is affected by internal migration.

Safe water to drink is one of the most basic of human needs. Access to water and sanitation plays a crucial role in the overall social and economic development of a community. Therefore, this sector should be given a high priority for development, in a sustainable and socially acceptable manner, with the use of appropriate technologies.

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