Melamchi tunnel trial: one more week to fill tunnel with water

Mukunda Gaire / Kathmandu, Mar. 2: It will take one more week for the 26 kilometers tunnel to be filled with water, The tunnel of the Melamchi drinking water project stretches from the Melamchi River of Sindhupalchowk to Sundarijal of Kathmandu.

Tiresh Khatri, Executive Director of Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, said that water has already been filled up in the 12 kilometers tunnel. The Melamchi drinking water will be made available in Sundarijal by March 10.

He said that the water condition inside the tunnel was being examined with the CCTV camera by closing the door inside the tunnel at Mahakal in Sundarijal.

Only a small portion of the water from the Melamchi River is channelized into the tunnel for the trial so that the tunnel gets filled while the water flows along. Khatri said pressure sensors are set up inside the tunnel to detect leakages and other related problems.

Water was supplied from the aperture of the Melamchi water project into the 26-km tunnel on February 22 for the trial.

“We have closed the door of the exit tunnel point after sending water from the entry and have adopted all precautionary measures to prevent unforeseen risks. Some mishap can happen with the water leakage so we have assessed the situation and made the needed preparation to avoid the problem.

Currently, 260-liter water per second has been supplied into the tunnel for testing.

Following the trial, a total of 170 million liters of water will be supplied through the tunnel on a daily basis at Sundarijal.

Technicians say that only a portion of water can be sent for tunnel testing and it has taken days for the water to arrive at Sundarijal, according to officials of the project.

Mani Chandra Thapa, Minister for Water Supply, had inaugurated the water filing process on February 22.

It will take a total of two months for the completion of the overall trial.

A team of technicians had inspected the tunnel before water was supplied into it and after setting up the entry gate and finishing the construction.

The project was delayed for two months as the main donor, Asian Development Bank, suggested sending water only after the inspection by the experts.

According to the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, the act of supply water into the tunnel will be tested in three stages and after the completion of the three stages only, water will be sent to Sundarijal.

In the first stage, water that is sent through the tunnel, will be taken on hold for some time and then thrown out and then the tunnel will be refilled with fresh water again. It will take two weeks to throw water and will take a week for further trial and testing as well as repair of any leakage.

He said that water will be distributed only after making sure that there is no problem in the tunnel. For this, water supplied into the tunnel will be put on hold for some time to ensure that there is no problem inside the tunnel.

Water will be distributed in taps of Kathmandu within two months if this test gets marked as a success.

The trial in June last year was marked unsuccessful as the main gate of Amabathan, Helambu Rural Municipality-1, broke down.

The act of supplying water through the tunnel was started only after testing and repairing the broken structures and after the inspection by the experts on the opening of the tunnel, gates as well as other structures, according to the project.

The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board was formed some 22 years ago to divert Melamchi River water into Kathmandu to meet rising drinking water demand and the construction work of the project was completed in June last year after a repeated extension of the deadline for the construction work.

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