Little water, dirty water

Planners were perturbed enough when Kathmandu Valley´s population growth rate was thought to be 4.8 per cent a year. Recently released data shows that the figure is more than 5 per cent. This means that every year, about 23,000 new residents make demands on the Valley´s services and extremely limited resource base. Both land and water are limited in Kathmandu Valley, but it seems likely that we will run out of water before we run out of land.

The limits to Kathmandu´s growth in terms of the availability of drinking water were set millions of years ago by evolving Himalayan geology. Kathmandu is a "hanging valley" far above the snow- fed abundance of the Indrawatt and Trisuli rivers on the east and west, which flow 750 m and 1,000 m below the Valley floor. The Valley´s own Bagmati River and its tributaries rise in the surrounding hills and are spring-fed.

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Himal Southasian