“Partnership for Safe Water” Programme in Lalitpur: Four Communities declared "Safe Water Zone"

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The "Partnership for Safe Water" programme – a demonstration of public private partnership approach among Government of Nepal, UN HABITAT Water for Asian Cities Programe Nepal and Bottlers Nepal Private Limited accomplished its project in Lalitpur successfully by raising public awareness on safe drinking water and promoting Point of Use (PoU) drinking water options effectively in urban and peri-urban communities of the city. Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City (LSMC), the nearest city of the capital of Nepal- Kathmandu, is one of the developed cities of Nepal, where majority of denizens have more or less access to most of the basic services. But, people are still deprived from basic water and sanitation services. There are many water sources such as city supply, stone spouts, dug wells and others, but water from these sources are neither sufficient to meet the demand of growing population nor safe to drink. By virtue of it, incidences of cholera and other diarrheal diseases appear every year with commence of monsoon in Lalitpur. Considering it, LSMC, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) and Urban Environment Management Society (UEMS) jointly launched a project in selected poor urban and peri-urban cluster of the city to promote Point of Use (PoU) drinking water, and increase access of urban poor to safe drinking water. It conducted various awareness raising activities, and promoted household water treatment options including boiling, chlorination, filtration and Solar Water Disinfection Techniques (SODIS) widely to bring behavioral change in city dwellers and materialize the vision that the project had made at the time of its beginning in Lalitpur. The stakeholder consultation meetings were held to discuss about the implementation of programme activities. It organized trainings and produced more than 80 community trainers to orient people about the importance of safe drinking water as well as to promote PoU options. It also organized about 70 community orientation programmes on safe drinking water and PoU Options following these training. In addition, students and teachers were sensitized on the importance of safe drinking water, introduced them to PoU options, and increased knowledge on health and hygiene by organizing educational events on water, health and hygiene at 25 different schools of Lalitpur. Household water treatment options were also installed at 11 schools in the area. The colloidal silver filters were provided to 22 health clinics in Lalitpur. Likewise, information on safe drinking water and PoU options were disseminated through FM radios and by performing street dramas, too. These efforts have finally contributed to achieve the targets that the programme had envisioned. Four communities in Lalitpur (Chochehen, Chhusika, Lohanla and Kwenani of Lalitpur) have already declared their communities as "Safe Water Zone." People in these communities were using untreated and unsafe drinking water due to the lack of awareness; and cholera and diarrheoal diseases were considered as common phenomena. After intervention of the project activities, they realized the importance of safe drinking water. None of the households in these communities drinks untreated and unsafe water in these days. Every household uses PoU options at their home to disinfect drinking water. It has reduced incidences of waterborne diseases in their communities. The initiatives undertaken by these communities have become a good example for others community people as well. It has increased the use of PoU options in other communities of Lalitpur. Many other communities are also practicing the water treatment options so that they could also declare their communities as safe water zone. It has also helped to decrease incidences of waterborne diseases in the municipal area in the year 2009.