Huslangkot finds happiness | WWF

Huslangkot finds happiness

Posted on 21 July 2014
Surya Bahadur Gurung from Huslangkot of Dharampani in Tanahu District gulps down a pitcher full of water that his wife fetched from the newly established tap in their village.
© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program/ Nabin Baral
A little support, ingenuity and determination is all it takes to make an entire community joyful. The residents of Huslangkot of Dharampani in Tanahun District, who used to walk for up to three hours each day for a pot of water, currently have water gushing from taps right next to their homes. The Hariyo Ban Program through CARE Nepal helped to make this possible by supporting an innovative approach for the local community to adapt to drought and other adverse impacts of climate change.

In a detailed vulnerability assessment conducted by the Hariyo Ban Program, Huslangkot was identified as one of the most vulnerable regions due to its water scarcity. During the assessment, locals shared how their troubles seemed to be escalating each year – the summers were hotter every time they rolled around, leading to water sources drying up quicker. Their biggest problem was that the women and children of approximately 35 households had to travel downhill to the Kotle River to fetch water each day. Seventy year old Durmati Gurung, whose house is at the top of the hill, remembers how she got up at 4 am each morning in her search for water. “I’ve lived here since my marriage, and this is a lovely place except for our constant difficulties with water. All of us got up at dawn and trudged downhill and then trekked back uphill with water in our dokos. But that was barely enough for drinking,” she says.

Then her face breaks into a smile as she points to the communal tap just beside her door. “Now I can go out and fetch water anytime I want. It is like a miracle,” she quips. This transformation was brought about through the Community Adaptation Plan of Action (CAPA) prepared with the support of the Hariyo Ban Program. The CAPA identified a drinking water system as the top priority in Huslangkot. In order to address the water deficit and enhance the adaptive capacity of the community, the Rural Energy Fund developed the ‘Kotle Khola Rural Solar Drinking Water Project’, which pumps water from the Kotle Khola stream up to the village with a solar pump. Technical and financial support was provided by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), the Rural Energy Fund, and the Hariyo Ban Program.

In a matter of months the solar panel, intake reservoir tank and distribution tank were constructed. Seven taps have been constructed throughout the village, and the community continues to marvel at the accessibility of drinking water. “I have a family of five, and we have enough for drinking, washing and cooking. In fact, we even have water for irrigation, and I planted tomatoes, onions, gourds and cucumbers. Who would have believed we could plant vegetables in this barren land!” says Durmati. In fact, Durmati proudly states that the tap was constructed on land that she owns.

Durmati’s neighbor, Aas Bahadur Gurung, is 70 years old and equally relieved about the change in the community. “To help out my wife, I used to get up at sunrise and fetch around 50 liters of water each day,” he says. “I remember once I brought up water and then went to visit my in-laws, who were still sleeping at eight in the morning. I was so jealous!” Ram Bahadur Thapa, chairperson of the drinking water project, says, “Our children could not go to school on time as their mothers would return late with the water and had no time to cook. But thanks to the continuous water supply, there are no such hindrances any more. Our entire community feels blessed.”

Along with the water supply, the community took part in several other climate change adaptation activities. The Siddathani CFUG was awarded first prize by the Western Region Forest Directorate for its outstanding contribution to conservation and the development of mountain ecosystems and local livelihoods. The award was presented during the celebration of International Mountain Day in December 2013 in Pokhara.

Huslangkot is one example of Hariyo Ban’s work to improve community access to water. Water is at the heart of every community, and increasing climate variability along with changes in land use are affecting water supplies in many places. In order to promote climate resilience, it is important to ensure that vulnerability to drought and disease are reduced through a clean water supply. For a community whose chief vulnerabilities were identified as water shortage and drought, Huslangkot has been helped a lot in its journey towards climate change adaptation.

By Richa Bhattarai, Communications Officer, WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program

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Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of WWF and its consortium partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Surya Bahadur Gurung from Huslangkot of Dharampani in Tanahu District gulps down a pitcher full of water that his wife fetched from the newly established tap in their village.
© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program/ Nabin Baral Enlarge
The tank used to store the water collected through solar lifting. This water is distributed to the village through five taps.
© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program/ Nabin Baral Enlarge
The solar panels that lift water from the Kotle river up to the village.
© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program/ Nabin Baral Enlarge
Seventy year old Durmati Gurung spreads her shawl to show the tomatoes that have grown in her garden, thanks to the water flowing through the taps.
© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program/ Nabin Baral Enlarge