3.0 Present Status

GoN investments in urban water supply and sanitation are primarily guided by its Twenty‐Year Vision (1997‐2017), which seeks universal coverage by 2017, and the National Water Plan (2002‐ 2027). In addition, other key legislation, much of it new and of cross‐sectoral relevance, needs to be considered if new Urban Water and Sanitation Policy is to meet its objectives. In this context, the following are seen as pertinent:


Government’s 3 Year Interim Plan (2007­ 2010) provides the most recent guidance on urban sector priorities highlighting, in particular, the need to address the effects of rapid urbanization on service levels, water quality and scheme maintenance. It proposes the full integration of sewerage, on‐site sanitation and solid waste management in all urban schemes and specifically endorses cost recovery from consumers. Local authorities are responsible for overseeing project implementation but with private sector organizations playing increasing roles.


Interim Plan further highlights the need for improved transparency and governance systems, including consumer protection. Social inclusion is particularly emphasized including a requirement to ensure that women and disadvantaged groups are fully represented and involved in development processes.


National Policy on Rural Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation (2004) provides guidance on water and sanitation service provision in rural areas using community led participatory approaches. While partially relevant to the urban context, particularly around the integration of inputs and local capacity building, it generally fails to address the complex operational challenges to be faced by Municipal authorities in implementing and managing urban services.


National Drinking Water Quality Standards (2006) provide details of the water quality standards to be applied to all new urban systems and complement the Environment Protection Act (1997) which requires Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) or Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) of  all new projects and pollution control for all water resources.


The Nepal Water Supply Corporation Act 2nd Amendment (2007), Water Supply Management Board Act (2006) and Water Supply Tariff Fixation Commission Act (2006) facilitate the improved management of Kathmandu Valley’s water and sanitation services. These establish the legal basis for private sector management of schemes and independent fee setting and regulation and are applicable to all urban schemes.

GoN’s Local Self Governance Act (1999) provides the legal basis for the devolution of responsibilities and authorities for social, economic, institutional, and physical infrastructure development, including water and sanitation systems, to local government. While periodic district plans have been formulated in 52 districts a decade long political conflict, including the absence of locally elected officials for most of this period, have frustrated implementation plans.


National Urban Policy (2007) highlights the historical imbalances and haphazard nature of urban development in Nepal. It views urban centres as catalysts for economic development linked to north‐south and east‐west access corridors and flags poor sanitation, environmental degradation and lack of services by the urban poor as requiring urgent attention. Urban Policy proposes building the capacity of Municipalities to plan and manage integrated local development activities including the preparation of urban master plans to be moderated by central and regional authorities. Private sector involvement and investment in infrastructure development is specifically sought.


At the implementation level four major initiatives are addressing the Nation’s urban water supply and sanitation challenges and provide important insights for the development of this policy. These are the Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project; the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Sector Development Program; the Urban and Environment Improvement Project (UEIP) and several schemes managed by the Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC).