Kathmandu, July 11: Worried over the receding groundwater level, the government is bringing a policy with effective and mandatory provisions for recharging groundwater.
The proposed water resources policy contains provisions for mapping the groundwater recharging areas in the urban as well as the Bhabar region and also harsh measures to prevent activities causing pollution and hampering the recharging works in these areas.
The policy also has provisions for monitoring the growing activities like construction of cement and concrete structures and black-topped roads that hamper the natural groundwater recharging process.
The water resources policy includes provisions ensuring that the industrial effluents are well treated and brought to the tolerable limits before releasing in the rivers and open ground and other places so as to prevent the recharged groundwater from being polluted by such industrial pollutants.
It will also incorporate provisions for collecting the rainwater in ponds and small water bodies and other appropriate artificial groundwater recharging methods to increase the amount of recharge water.
Policy would be adopted for using construction materials and technologies aiding in groundwater recharging while constructing roads, pavements or other public or private infrastructures in urban areas.
Likewise, the proposed water resources policy has the objective of providing around-the-year irrigation facilities to the arable land, reducing the range of electricity production capacity between the dry season and rainy season, minimizing the flood hazards and providing water for industrial, fisheries, boating and water sports purposes as well.
The policy lays special emphasis on developing the reservoir-type hydropower projects into multi-purpose ones, increasing the water use capacity, efficiency and productivity of the existing projects and implementing inter-basin water translocation project. It also has prioritized provision of drinking water and availability of water for protection of livestock, protection of aquatic animals and for irrigation, religious and cultural, hydro electricity, industrial, water transport, recreational, tourism and other purposes.
The policy mentions that legal provisions would be made specifying the ownership over water resources and the rights and duties of water users as well as the protection and distribution of water based on the principle of water sharing by the center, provinces and the local levels.
It states that the rights and jurisdiction as well as responsibilities of the center, provinces and local level would be mobilized in developing and managing the water resources as per the directive principles, policies and provisions of the constitution.
Accordingly, attention would be given for issuing permission, construction and management of big irrigation projects by the center, the medium-scale irrigation projects by the province and the small irrigation projects by the local level.
Similarly, hydroelectricity projects with more than 50 Megawatts installed capacity have been categorized as big projects, those projects with 50 Megawatts or less but with more than one megawatt installed capacity have been categorized as medium-scale and those projects with less than one megawatt installed capacity as small projects.
The policy also has provisions regarding the feasible project sites and construction sites, irrigation zones, resettlement and rehabilitation of communities affected by water resources projects, the development of project sites, taking benefits from the development and management of water resources of international dimension and institutional reforms for water resources management.
Priority has been accorded to water resources utilization policy which would maximize the economic, social and environmental value for a prosperous Nepal.