Private tankers not supplying pure water

By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, Aug. 29:  In a bid to regulate the water-supplying tankers, drinking water business and quality assurance, the government has made it mandatory for the tankers operated by the private firms to glue one of three coloured stickers on them.
Though the provision was introduced months back, it was brought into effect just a week ago after the private tankers hesitated to comply with the regulation, government officials said.
The government is to regulate and implement the decision of sticking one of the three types of stickers -- blue, green and yellow -- introduced by the Drinking Water Service Operation directive, said Besh Raj Dahal, engineer and chief of the monitoring section at the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board (KVWSMB).
According to the KVWSMB, there are about 600-650 tankers operating within the Kathmandu Valley at present. And out of them, so far only 460 tankers have registered with the government and received the stickers.
Dahal said that out of the 460 registered tankers, 405 tankers have received green stickers, 55 yellow and 14 blue stickers.
As per the government standards, the blue sticker means completely pure and safe to drink, which has been distributed only to the tankers owned by the Kathmandu Upatteka Khankepani Limited (KUKL) at present.
According to Dahal, none of the private water tankers has been given a blue sticker so far, though they have demanded it.
“We are not giving them blue stickers as they lack proper installation of drinking water treatment plants and water labs at the water sources,” said Dahal.
Basically, the private firms have been supplying water to its consumers mainly from deep boring and water available at the surface or natural water coming from different sources.
According to the government estimates, there are 60-70 boring points from where the private firms have been drawing water.
Dahal said that private tankers were mainly drawing water from Manamainju, Balaju, Jorpati, Godawari, Matatirtha and Chobhar-Chaalnakhel areas.
Based on the directive, private tankers or entrepreneurs may charge Rs. 1700-Rs. 1900 for 5,000 litres of water from a container with a blue sticker. Similarly, the rate for 7,000 litres of water is Rs. 2,200-Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 3,100-Rs. 3, 400 for 12,000 litres of water.
The aforementioned water tariff for the private sector was fixed based on the current tariff by the KUKL.
According to the National Drinking Water Standards-2062 BS, the coliform level in drinking water should be less than 3 MPN/100 ml while the level of ammonia has to be less than 1.5 mg/litre.
And to consider any water to be purely drinkable, it must meet 27 parametres as demanded by the National Drinking Water Standards. Of the 27 parametres, six relate to physical substance tests, 19 parametres to chemical tests and two to microbiological tests.
Meanwhile, the KVWSMB has launched a mobile application named Kathmandu Valley Tanker Information System (KVTIS) with the aim of providing detailed information about drinking water supplying tankers in the valley.
As per the desire of the customers, they can order the desired category of tankers at their doorsteps. The application provides the price, location of both the customers and water suppliers with their names and phone numbers, said Dahal.

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