Sunday, June 04, 2006

Nepal to fall short of MDG on water: Report

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, June 3 [2006]:
A Japanese researcher from a reputed American university, who has recently completed a study on Nepal’s water supplies and sanitation, has said in her report that Nepal is unlikely to meet the

Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Among the ten MDGs, the government has been projecting the country’s Water
supply and sanitation sectors as satisfactory. According a government report, Nepal has already achieved the MGD target in
water supply, though it has someway to go to meet the sanitation targets.

The MDGs aim to halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Nepal has signed
two documents on safe drinking water and sanitation in Stockholm and Johannesburg in 1990 and 2002, respectively.
“Progress in both water supply and sanitation sectors in Nepal is unlikely to keep up with the MDG targets,” the report, prepared by
Tomomi Kitajima of the University of Pennsylvania, states.
Talking to this daily, Tikajima said she collected data on water supply and sanitation in Nepal from various available documents
and field visits.

The report “MGD Targets, National Policy, and Current Efforts for Water Supply and Sanitation in Nepal” indicates huge discrepancies
between the government data and that put forward by independent studies.
According to Tikajima, the difference in method of collecting and analysing data may account for the discrepancies.
The difference is so vast between two sets of data that while the Census report puts the national drinking water coverage in 2001 at
82 per cent, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of the same year indicates that it is mere 72 percent, according to

Similarly, according to Census 2001, national sanitation coverage is 46.8 per cent whereas the PRSP indicates that it is only 25 per

Talking about the differences, Tikajima states in her report: “It does not matter for the local people if the current coverage is
high or low. Concrete steps need to be taken to address the water and sanitation needs of the people.”Asked if Nepal could meet the MDGs, she said: “It will be a big challenge.”

Taikajima has studied water shortage in Kathmandu Valley, surface water contamination, arsenic contamination, sustainability of
various technologies, barriers to improvement of water resources, Nepal’s chaotic political history, ethnic, cultural and linguistic
diversity as well as caste-based social structure, among other problems.