I. URBANIZATION IN NEPAL

Rapidly growing urban populations are increasing demand for reliable water supply.

Need for Clean and Safe Water

At the turn of the 21st century, many people living in small towns and urban municipalities across Nepal lacked access to clean and safe water. Rapid urbanization aggravated the problem as the supply of new infrastructure for water supply services failed to keep pace with surging demand.

About 42% of the country’s population was urban in 2015, and this is projected to rise to 50% by 2030. As small urban centers continue to multiply, more and more households must be connected to reliable water supply and sanitation systems. Previous attempts to provide these services have suffered from poor sustainability and lack of community participation and ownership.


II. THE CHALLENGES

Asha Tamang, a clothes store owner and mother, had to give up farming because of the lack of reliable water supply in Ilam District. Like most women in her community, she wakes up at crack of dawn and treks to a communal tube well to fetch water for her family’s daily needs. She hopes that the piped water supply that will soon be installed in her home will allow her to go back to growing crops.

The gagri, an aluminum- or copper-based container, is a staple in every Nepali household,especially in areas where women and children have to collect, carry, and store water from communal sources. This feature shows snippets of the daily struggle for water in urban Nepal, and how the gagri serves as one of the most important tools of daily life for every family.

Asha Tamang, a clothes store owner and mother, had to give up farming due to the lack of reliable water supply in Ilam district. As with most women in her community, she wakes up at the crack of dawn and treks to a communal tubewell to fetch water for her family’s daily use. She hopes that the piped water supply that will soon be installed in her home will allow her to go back to growing crops.

The burden of water collection

Women in Nepal traditionally manage the household. With that responsibility comes the task of ensuring that that family has enough water for washing, drinking, eating, and taking care of crops and livestock.

Carrying the heavy gagri in their arms, women, and sometimes children, in small towns across Nepal often trek up to two hours on foot to collect water from communal tubewells or rivers. Some do this up to six times a day, everyday.

The Struggle for Water: In Photos

Women and girls in Nepal are usually saddled with the responsibility of collecting water for their households. More often than not, it takes hours of walking, queuing, and carrying heavy gagris or other water containers back and forth. Click on each photo for more information.

Women and girls in Nepal are usually saddled with the responsibility of collecting water for their households. More often than not, it takes hours of walking, queuing, and carrying heavy gagris or other water containers back and forth. Tap on each photo for more information.

Binda Dahal Thapa
Vice Chairperson
Water Users Committee
Indrapur, Morang District

Binda, who has been vice-chair of the Indrapur Water Users’ Committee since 2015, knows that women and girls shoulder the task of collecting water and using it for household chores. This is why she is happy that women like her are given a voice in decision-making and are helping to run the water supply services in their community.

Binda Dahal Thapa
Vice Chairperson
Water Users Committee
ndrapur, Morang District

Binda, who has been vice chairperson of the Water Users’ Committee in Indrapur since 2015, Binda knows that women and girls often take on the task of collecting water and using it for household chores. This is why she is happy that women like her are given avoice in decision-making and are playing an active role in running the water supply services in their community.

Bidya Nath Bhattarai
Project Director
Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (Sector) Project
Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation
Government of Nepal

With urbanization in Nepal came the rising demand for safe water supply for growing communities. Bidya Nath Bhattarai, the director of the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (Sector) Project, shares the importance of government–community partnerships in making access to piped water supply universal.

Alexandra Vogl
Senior Planning and Policy Specialist
ADB

Alexandra Vogl discusses the introduction of the service provision model in the Nepal Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector projects in Nepal, and the crucial role of communities in ensuring the water supply system is managed sustainably.


IV. FROM THREE PERSPECTIVES

The importance of providing clean, reliable water to the small towns, from a community leader, a government partner, and ADB.

Binda Dahal Thapa

Vice Chairperson

Water Users Committee

Indrapur, Morang District

Binda, who has been vice-chair of the Indrapur Water Users’ Committee since 2015, knows that women and girls shoulder the task of collecting water and using it for household chores. This is why she is happy that women like her are given a voice in decision-making and are helping to run the water supply services in their community.

Bidya Nath Bhattarai

Project Director

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (Sector) Project

Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation

Government of Nepal

With urbanization in Nepal came the rising demand for safe water supply for growing communities. Bidya Nath Bhattarai, the director of the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (Sector) Project, shares the importance of government–community partnerships in making access to piped water supply universal.

Alexandra Vogl

Senior Planning and Policy Specialist

ADB

Alexandra Vogl discusses the introduction of the service provision model in the Nepal Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector projects in Nepal, and the crucial role of communities in ensuring the water supply system is managed sustainably.

Play Video

Binda Dahal Thapa

Vice Chairperson

Water Users’ Commitee

Indrapur, Morang District

Play Video

Bidya Nath Bhattarai

Project Director

Urban Water Supply

and Sanitation Sector Project
Government of Nepal

Play Video

Alexandra Vogl

Former Senior Urban

Development Specialist

ADB

Bhagwati Bayalkoti
Farmer
Ilam Municipality, Ilam District

For Bhagwati, fetching water from the communal tube wells or springs meant risking her family’s health. Her husband became ill from drinking contaminated water, and they had to spend what little money they had on hospital bills. 

When she heard of the cost-shared piped water supply projects in their district, Bhagwati immediately signed up for her own connection with high hopes for safer water for her family and, in turn, better health. 

Sita Bhudjel
Domestic helper, farmer
Katari, Udaypur District


In Sita’s community, women and children had to traverse the hillsides and forests to reach the tube wells to fetch water. Having animals and crops to water meant multiple trips on foot for hours at a time.

With a piped connection in her home that provides a supply of water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Sita now has more time to earn a living and her daughters can focus on their studies.

Srijana Rai
Tea shop owner
Sundar Haraicha, Morang District


Every day, Srijana and her two daughters used to spend hours fetching water from crowded communal hand pumps. The family had to give up pig farming because of the shortage of water and had no income for some time. 

When at last the piped water supply reached their home, Srijana opened a tea shop and has since been earning more to support her family’s daily needs, especially her daughters’ education.

Mira Malik
Housekeeper
Indrapur, Morang District

For Mira, fetching water for her family was a daily ordeal. Collecting from communal tube wells or the river meant hours wasted instead of earning additional income to help support her family.

She wanted to change her situation. When the Asian Development Fund grant-funded Second Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project started in her town of Indrapur, Mira invested in her own piped water supply. With a reliable water source in her home, she regained those hours and used them to boost her earnings. She also has more time to spend with her family and friends.

This means she can enjoy a more dignified and productive life.

Asha Tamang
Clothes shop owner
Ilam District

Asha had to give up farming because of the lack of reliable water supply in Ilam District. Like most women in her community, she wakes up at crack of dawn and treks to a communal tube well to fetch water for her family’s daily needs. She hopes that the piped water supply that will soon be installed in her home will allow her to go back to growing crops.

Bhagwati Bayalkoti
Bhagwati Bayalkoti
Farmer
Ilam Municipality, Ilam District

For Bhagwati, fetching water from the communal tube wells or springs meant risking her family’s health. Her husband became ill from drinking contaminated water, and they had to spend what little money they had on hospital bills.

When she heard of the cost-shared piped water supply projects in their district, Bhagwati immediately signed up for her own connection with high hopes for safer water for her family and, in turn, better health.

Kabita Katwal and Manisha Limbu
Students
Itahari, Sunsari District

Best friends Kabita and Manisha live together in an isolated community in Itahari. Before their house finally had its own water connection, they spent hours every morning collecting water for cooking and cleaning. This meant that they were often late to school and had little time to study.

Now that they have  water on tap in their tiny hut, they can focus more on schoolwork and having fun together, as tenth-grade students should.

IV. BENEFICIARY STORIES

Real People,
Real Results,
Real Stories.

Water for all

With these projects, almost 1.24 million people across 90 small towns and urban municipalities in Nepal are benefiting from high-quality, sustainable water and sanitation services.

Infrastructure improvements come with comprehensive capacity building programs that enable Water User Committees to manage their community's water supply and sanitation services sustainably and effectively.

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360° videos

Bhagwati Bayalkoti

Farmer

Ilam Municipality, Ilam District

For Bhagwati, fetching water from the communal tube wells or springs meant risking her family’s health. Her husband became ill from drinking contaminated water, and they had to spend what little money they had on hospital bills. 

When she heard of the cost-shared piped water supply projects in their district, Bhagwati immediately signed up for her own connection with high hopes for safer water for her family and, in turn, better health. 

Sita Bhudjel

Domestic helper, farmer

Katari, Udaypur District

In Sita’s community, women and children had to traverse the hillsides and forests to reach the tube wells to fetch water. Having animals and crops to water meant multiple trips on foot for hours at a time.

With a piped connection in her home that provides a supply of water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Sita now has more time to earn a living and her daughters can focus on their studies.

Srijana Rai

Tea shop owner

Sundar Haraicha, Morang District

Every day, Srijana and her two daughters used to spend hours fetching water from crowded communal hand pumps. The family had to give up pig farming because of the shortage of water and had no income for some time. 

When at last the piped water supply reached their home, Srijana opened a tea shop and has since been earning more to support her family’s daily needs, especially her daughters’ education.

Mira Malik

Housekeeper

Indrapur, Morang District

For Mira, fetching water for her family was a daily ordeal. Collecting from communal tube wells or the river meant hours wasted instead of earning additional income to help support her family.

She wanted to change her situation. When the Asian Development Fund grant-funded Second Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project started in her town of Indrapur, Mira invested in her own piped water supply. With a reliable water source in her home, she regained those hours and used them to boost her earnings. She also has more time to spend with her family and friends.

This means she can enjoy a more dignified and productive life.

HD videos

Asha Tamang

Clothes shop owner

Asha had to give up farming because of the lack of reliable water supply in Ilam District. Like most women in her community, she wakes up at crack of dawn and treks to a communal tube well to fetch water for her family’s daily needs. She hopes that the piped water supply that will soon be installed in her home will allow her to go back to growing crops.

Bhagwati Bayalkoti

Farmer

Ilam Municipality, Ilam District

For Bhagwati, fetching water from the communal tube wells or springs meant risking her family’s health. Her husband became ill from drinking contaminated water, and they had to spend what little money they had on hospital bills.

When she heard of the cost-shared piped water supply projects in their district, Bhagwati immediately signed up for her own connection with high hopes for safer water for her family and, in turn, better health.

Srijana Rai

Tea shop owner

Sundar Haraicha, Morang District

Every day, Srijana and her two daughters used to spend hours fetching water from crowded communal hand pumps. The family had to give up pig farming because of the shortage of water and had no income for some time. 

When at last the piped water supply reached their home, Srijana opened a tea shop and has since been earning more to support her family’s daily needs, especially her daughters’ education.

Kabita Katwal and Manisha Limbu

Students

Itahari, Sunsari District

Best friends Kabita and Manisha live together in an isolated community in Itahari. Before their house finally had its own water connection, they spent hours every morning collecting water for cooking and cleaning. This meant that they were often late to school and had little time to study.

Now that they have  water on tap in their tiny hut, they can focus more on schoolwork and having fun together, as tenth-grade students should.

Mira Malik

Housekeeper

Indrapur, Morang District

For Mira, fetching water for her family was a daily ordeal. Collecting from communal tube wells or the river meant hours wasted instead of earning additional income to help support her family.

She wanted to change her situation. When the Asian Development Fund grant-funded Second Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project started in her town of Indrapur, Mira invested in her own piped water supply. With a reliable water source in her home, she regained those hours and used them to boost her earnings. She also has more time to spend with her family and friends.

This means she can enjoy a more dignified and productive life.