Mrs. Chhabi Sara is in a hurry to attend the Step by Step training organized by Parbat DDC at Chandekharka-5, Triveni VDC. This training is the first of many trainings offered to Water Users and Sanitation Users Committees. It is organized before entering into an agreement for drinking water supply scheme implementation.
Before starting the training, Mrs. Chhabi Sara, a resident of Simle Tole, had carried 10 gagris (jars) of water (each jar containing 20 liters of water) by making 10 up-and-down trips to the Dodare Kuwa (water source) early in the morning. This is her daily routine to collect water for her family and few goats that she raises as the means of livelihood.
Pointing towards the abandoned neighboring houses, Mrs Sara explains that all the people who used to live in those houses had migrated to Terai due to water hardship. Being poor, her family, which includes three small children, could not afford to move out of the village. There are few other households in the village, living in similar condition as her family.
VDC WASH plan of Triveni VDC, which was prepared during FY 2071/72, gives the first priority to the water hardship scheme called `Dhumsing Devisthan´. The scheme was meant to benefit 25 households, including Mrs. Chhabi´s family. The first option was to construct a water lifting scheme using electricity or solar power. However, after a feasibility study was conducted, the residents did not opt for a lifting scheme knowing the high cost they had to bear. The cost is high for both the implementation and for the operation and maintenance. The cost of electricity alone can be a heavy burden where there are only a few households to pay for it.
Therefore, rainwater harvesting was the only option left for them. Out of 25 households, 13 households withdrew themselves from constructing rain water harvesting jars even though they are facing acute water problem. Mr. Malla, who was selected as the Chairperson of Water User and Sanitation Committee, later resigned from the post. It is embarrassing for them to drink water that is collected from roof top, literally known as "Balaysi ko Paani khaane lai chhori nadine" (“Don´t give your daughter to a family that drinks rain water”). The saying is true for the people living in this community, who face difficulty in finding brides for their sons from nearby villages. No parent is interested to give their daughter for marrying in this village when they see big rain water harvesting jars in their yards. Therefore, only twelve households decided to join the rain water harvesting scheme, despite the difficulty in fetching water every day.
Cultural aspects need to be carefully considered when selecting water sources and related technology. With regards to rainwater harvesting, our challenges are both human and technical. Missing winter rains have further reduced the interest, and therefore we need to develop the rainwater harvesting technology towards something that can capture more rainfall when the rain is available, and at the same time be more attractive and culturally acceptable. Rainwater could also be promoted for a ll the other uses than drinking if this is the main barrier. This could reduce the load carried every day as a bulk of water is needed also for the sanitation and hygiene, and for the gardens and livestock.
Triveni VDC of Parbat is accessible within 5 hours' drive from DHQ. The VDC is connected with mud road.