Melamchi tunnel to be closed from Friday due to flood concerns

Himal Press 19 Jun 2024
Melamchi tunnel to be closed from Friday due to flood concerns Water of Melamchi River being diverted into a tunnel at Ambathan of Sindhupalchowk. (File Photo)

KATHMANDU: The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) has decided to shut the main tunnel of the Melamchi Water Supply Project from Friday, citing the risk of flooding in the Melamchi River.

Stating that the monsoon has become active in Bagmati Province, the board said that the main tunnel, which ferries water from Melamchi River to the treatment plant in Sundarijal, located in Ambathan, Sindhupalchok, will be shut down due to the potential risk of floods which could damage the project.

“People in the Kathmandu Valley will be able to consume water from the Melamchi River again only after the monsoon season ends,” Ratna Lamichhane, executive director of the MWSDB, said.

The MWSDB has been shutting down the project at the start of the rainy season and reopening it after the monsoon ends to minimize potential damage to the project’s headworks caused by monsoon-induced disasters since 2002.

According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the monsoon became active in Nepal from June 10. It typically exits the country in the first week of October.

“Since rainfall has begun in the Melamchi Valley, the increased water flow in the river has raised the risk of flooding, necessitating the closure of the project to protect the headworks infrastructure,” Lamichhane added. “The tunnel needs to be shut down during the monsoon to prevent silt from entering the tunnel and the water distribution system.”

Floods in the Melamchi River in 2021 swept away the project’s headworks, causing billions of rupees in losses to the project. Although there was no damage to the main tunnel, it damaged all structures built to divert water to the tunnel. Project officials are now mulling over moving the headworks to a new location upstream of the river.

Meanwhile, the board has said that the Dhap dam will supply 40 million liters of water to the project every day until the project resumes water supply from the Melamchi tunnel.

(With inputs from RSS)

Published On: 19 Jun 2024


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