KATHMANDU, Sept 12: Struggling to flow, Bagmati River tries hard to prove itself as the river during the winter when there is negligible amount of water.
All this could however, change if the government´s proposed project to construct big reservoirs to collect water during rainy season and maintain control flow in winters or drier seasons.
“The river no longer holds water where people in Pashupatinath temple could bath during winter. But if the project is implemented there will be plenty of water at least up to Pashupatinath which is very essential,” said Shreeranjan Lacoule, Joint Secretary, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS).
He added that the minimum flow of water would be maintained at 400 liters per second during the driest day of the year after the construction of reservoirs that will feed the river during water deficit time.
The government is working to construct two big reservoirs inside Shivapuri National Park that will store about 9 million cubic meters of water during the rainy season and will flow during the winter season when the river has very low volume of water.
The large reservoir will be of 8.2 million cubic meter capacity on Nagmati River and the smaller one with the capacity 0.8 million cubic meters on Bagmati River near its origin inside Shivapuri National Park. Bagmati originates in Baghdwar of Shivapuri hill in the north of Kathmandu valley. Nagmati meets Bagmati before Sundarijal which is a major water contributor for Bagmati River for its downstream flow.
The two reservoirs (small and large) will be constructed through an investment of $50 million from the Asian Development Bank under the Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project (BRBIP). A team of experts from ADB are currently in Nepal for finalizing the project that is expected to be completed by 2018.
With reservoirs there would be other projects downstream to improve water recharge too that will ultimately help increase the volume of water in the river.
“There is an urgent need to increase the volume of water in Bagmati river as it is highly water deficit so water recharge should be one of the major component that has to be taken seriously and this component would be fruitful if implemented,” said Dr. Siddhartha Bajracharya who led the Bagmati Action Plan that was prepared by National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) and endorsed by the government in 2010.
The height of the larger dam would be about 90 meters and there is the possibility of generation of hydro project of 5 Megawatts. But the idea now is not for moving into the hydro project as the area falls in the core part of the National Park.
“The idea of hydro project was also floated in the meetings but we all principally agreed not to go for hydro project as that will bring lots of controversies and national park authorities would be reluctant to it,” added Lacoule.