Struggling for safe drinking water

Internally displaced population living in Liwali Camp has to walk half an hour to fetch drinking water

By Sujata Awale

After a massive temblor shook the country in April 25, the core city of Bhaktapur witnessed major destruction collapsing hundreds of houses, casualties and cultural importance monuments. As a result many local residents have been displaced from their own native town. Liwali camp was established after houses of the people living in the southern part of Bhaktapur were destroyed in the earthquake. 


The camp constitutes 60 shelters spread over land area of 1,526.22 sq m which is owned by Kwopa Engineering College and the government. Six hundred and seven earthquake affected people are now living in temporary shelters made up of CG sheet in the camp. Despite the fact that they have now had a shelter to shed their head, the camp is plagued with severe problem of safe drinking water and electricity. Dug well and nearby stream are two major sources of water in the camp.

Narayan Khaitu, president of Liwali Ganesh Tole Improvement Committee, said, “We have dug a well two years ago in this town planning area. The water in well recharges by 1.5 inch daily which is a very good sign for us.” Citing that the major challenge to the camp is pure drinking water, he said, “People at camp are totally rely upon the water of the well for every purpose. If only we can make it safe, it will relief the whole area.”

Khaitu has envisioned to construct 20,000 litre tank to collect water and distribute each house through pipelines. According to him, if things go well according to the plan, every three houses will own a tap in the camp. He also complained about the government’s unwillingness to solve the drinking water issue of the area. He presumes that the camp site will last for at least two years.

According to him, each household consumes two pots of drinking water each day. The quality test of water from well is done by ENPHO and the locals are suggested to drink water only after boiling. In the present context, the main source of drinking water is a public tap half an hour far from the camp site in which water comes once in three days.

Hari Sundar Bohaju, resident of a camp, said, "The water from the well impure for drinking, however, we are using it for cooking and having that water indirectly.” He further said that for drinking purpose, they walk till the public tap half an hour walking distance from the camp. According to him, they use water from well for washing, bathing, cleaning, cooking, etc.

Another local resident, Sunil Bohaju, said, "It is difficult for us to sleep in this chilling nights under tin sheets. Mostly elderly and children of the camp are suffering." Elongated power cuts up to 13 hours is another challenge to the camp site. "For 60 families, the government has distributed electricity lights through only two MCB,” he informed adding that time onwards they got blasted and for many days they have to live under darkness. According to him, power cuts has negatively affected on students and create adverse environment for studying.

There are eight temporary toilets in the camp area — four for gents and four for ladies. Toilets lack proper water system, hence people carry water from the well. The faecal waste is directly drained into the municipal sewerage. The site also has two gents and ladies bathrooms but they are not in use currently. The camp owns a tanky, a well and a pumping machine to store and disseminate water. 

Chart of total households and population in Liwali Camp as per the survey done by local residents:

S. No.


No. of female population

No. of male population


0-15 years of age




>70 years




16-69 years








Post-maternity women






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