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Mega project concluding, Melamchi water running off the taps soon in capital

Sarachchandra BhandaryAs the much awaited multi-million dollar mega project — Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) is coming to completion, the domicile of Kathmandu Valley are all set to quench their thirst by October this year.
The government has made public a plan of action and schedule for the supply of water to the households of capital city by December. Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Commission Plan was unveiled by the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation and Project Implementation Directorate at a Country Portfolio Review Meeting (CPRM) of Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported projects last
If things go according to plan, a 26-kilometer tunnel will be completed to carry 170 million liters of water per day from the Melamchi River to the Sundarijal Water Treatment Plant by May 2018. The Sundarijal Water Treatment Plant receives raw water from the Melamchi River in the month of June and treated water will flow from the treatment plant to large storage tanks situated at the various locations of the Kathmandu Valley from July.
Finally the water from those large storage tanks will be available for testing and supply of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) customers through the existing and new network from October, 2018. So far eleven large storage tanks in the valley have been constructed and they are almost ready to house water. These large storage tanks are situated in Arubari, Mahankal, Bansbari, Balaju, Panipokhari, Anamnagar, Minbhawan, Kirtipur, Khumaltar and Tigani and Katunje of Bhaktapur.
The MWSP was estimated to cost 464 million US dollars in 2000 prices. ADB is the largest partner of this flagship project. The other investors of the project are Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and Nordic Development Fund (NDF) including the Government of Nepal.
Record high achievement in ADB-supported projects
Despite multiple challenges, the development projects supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have performed well in terms of contract award and disbursement in the year 2017. The contract award achievement has reached 82 percent amounting 435.9 million US dollars and disbursement was to the tune of 298 million US dollars, which is a record high achievement.
In course of CPRP, various projects were awarded for their excellent performance. Community Irrigation Project, Road Connectivity Project and Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project bagged best project management award while best project team award on the basis of procurement process was bestowed to Earthquake Emergency Assistance Project, Power Transmission and Distribution Efficiency Enhancement Project and SASEC Power System Expansion Project.
Finance Secretary Shankar Prasad Adhikari expressed commitment that there would be no delay in timely release of budget and facilitation through flexible arrangement in the expenditure management. He appealed to all project teams to prepare a more realistic projection of budget incorporating counterpart fund and its rational allocation for trimester spending for the fiscal 2018-2019.He apprised that as per the constitutional provisions, new projects would be developed by the respective governments in their delineated scope of work from next fiscal year. He was referring to federal structure that Nepal has embarked on.
Highlighting the challenges facing Nepal in terms of smooth implementation of development projects, Deputy Director General of ADB for South Asia Diwesh Sharan underscored further improvements in procurement documents and evaluation scrutiny, stringent contract management to contain implementation and fiduciary risks, and sound safeguard management, including environmental management, continuity of project directors and timely release of project budget.
“Nepal is undergoing state restructuring with federalization underway and newly elected representatives at central, provincial and local levels; projects are responding to these changes,” he said, adding that ADB was pleased to note government directive that for on-going projects, fund flow and institutional arrangements will remain the same. Hinting at the impediments caused by frequent transfer of project directors he said, “We also hope that there will be no change in the project directors due to the ongoing state restructuring process. New projects will be designed under the new implementation structures”
Moreover, ADB Country Director Mukhtor Khamudkhnov said with the recent improvement in implementation of ADB’s portfolio in 2016 and 2017, ADB was committing more resources to Nepal. “The approved loan has increased from an annual average of around 300 million US dollar per year during 2014-2016 to 421 million US dollar in 2017. The resource envelope in 2019 and beyond will depend on country performance assessment and portfolio performance,” he stated. He also informed that many of the ongoing and programmed projects supported by ADB were implemented at the local levels, with the establishments of the local governments; ADB had begun to consult closely with them on relevant projects to determine their priorities and capacity.

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