WAC Activities marking World Water Day 2009 in Nepal

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Since 1972, World Environment Day (WED) is being celebrated every year on June 5 across the world. Considering the climate change and its environmental impact, the day was marked this year focusing on the theme "Your planet needs you! Unite to combat climate change". In Nepal, the government and non-government organizations, and other institutions involved in water, environment and sanitation sectors organized different programmes in different part of the country to mark the WED 2009. On this occasion, UN-HABITAT Water for Asian Cities (WAC) programme, Nepal, Bottlers Nepal Limited, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) and Urban Environment Management Society (UEMS) jointly organized a programme in Lalitpur to declare three communities- Chhusika, Chochein and Lonhala as the Safe Water Zones. At the programme, the community representatives were honoured with certificate of appreciation by the Chief Guest and Head of Water Quality Improvement and Monitoring Section of Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS), Birendra Man Shakya. Waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea was common among community people in Safe Water Zone declared areas due to lack of safe drinking water. Hence, "Partnership for Safe Water" campaign - a unique private public partnership initiated by Government of Nepal, UN HABITAT, Bottlers Nepal, ENPHO and UEMS, was intervened in these communities. The programme promoted simple Household Water Treatment (HWT) options such as boiling, filtration, chlorination and SODIS, and conducted various awareness raising programmes to increase public awareness on safe drinking water. Nowadays, none of community people drinks water without disinfecting it, which has remarkably decreased the waterborne diseases. On the same occasion, an Inter-School Art Competition on the theme "Waterborne Diseases and its preventive measures" had also been organized. The winners of the competition were honoured with prize and certificate by Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha, Chief Technical Advisor of UN HABITAT. On WED 2009, UN-HABITAT WAC and Nepal and Bottlers Nepal Limited also entered into a partnership exhibiting Public-Private-Community partnership to conserve and preserve the environment. This collaboration will work in cooperation with Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (LSMC) and Kathmandu Valley Water Management Board where as Centre for Integrated Urban Development will provide technical support. It has aimed to demonstrate community level groundwater recharge technique in Patan, Lalitpur through restoration of traditional ponds and installation of Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) system and groundwater recharge structures to facilitate increase in water discharge of selectedtraditional stone spout. The initiative will help to conserve 40,000 kilo liters of rainwater, besides benefiting the local community and opinion leaders to build awareness on Water Conservation and protecting traditional water bodies.