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Water quality testing at Jitpur Phedi

water quality testing

water quality testing

During April 2016, the international and domestic volunteers from VIN conducted a series of water testing & research as well as household interview at ward-8 of Jitpur Phedi area, in order to obtain a general understanding of the local water system, water quality and resident hygiene awareness.

According to previous study and professional judgment, ward 8 is considered as the “vulnerable” area in Jitpur Phedi, considering its geological location and water supply/quality condition. Therefore, the investigation was focused on Ward 8.

With respect to the objectives, the team aims to tackle the following questions based on the preliminary investigation:

  • What is the water supply/distribution condition and how to improve it? Is there any other potential water sources or other water distribution and storage technologies that apply to Ward 8 and Jitpur Phedi?
  • Where is the contamination source along the water system that leads to local residents’ water-related diseases?
  • What are the most applicable and cost-effective purification methods for local residents?
  • What is the status of local people’s hygiene awareness and how to improve it?

There might be multiple relevant aspects (small questions, such as waste disposal, toilet usage, etc) along with one or more objectives above, and it is expected that the team would handle them appropriately along the way while conducting the investigation.

  • Water System Condition

The water system in Ward 8 is really simple and under development – a source tank was built upon an uphill stream in the jungle; and a central tank located in the villages receives the surface water from uphill with pipelines by gravity. Several public taps were established among the village to serve the villagers for daily use. Such water supply system is relatively fragile since 1) it is purely driven by gravity; 2) the central village tank would entirely count on the surface water volume in current time without any alternatives; and 3) most of the rubber pipeline is exposed above the ground and through foot trails/roads, which causes the increasing risk of leaking and repair.

Another water system in remote villages of ward 8 is much simpler and brittle. A source tank was built for multiple villages, and no central village tank was built near a specific village, so each house merely linked a pipe from the main pipeline system to the household and get water whenever there is water in the pipeline from upstream. Such system is only found in Deudi Pakha and Khyalbucha villages which are adjacent to Dhading District in rural Southwest.

  • Dadagaun/Halchimara Villages

Dadagaun and Halchimara are two relatively remote villages in Jitpur Phedi which are adjacent to each other in ward 8 area. There are 80 houses in Dadagaun and 14 houses in Halchimara. Two villages share the same central public tank which is located near the entrance of Dadagaun village. There are 4 public taps distributed in Dadagaun and 1 public tap in Halchimara, which are linked to the central public tank with pipes. The round central tank is approximately 1 meter in diameter and 2 meter deep. The water source to the central tank is a stream among the uphill jungle, which takes 1.5-2 hours to achieve. As described above, the village built a source tank above the stream, and then connected a pipe to the central tank.

Several villagers have the key to the tank cover and the notch containing five tap switches. Depending on the natural water supply in the tank, the holders would open the taps from typically 9am to 11am, and 4pm-6pm or less every day. Residents (usually the housewives) would line up in front of a nearby public tap, waiting for their turns to obtain the water for daily use. The water supply is suffering shortage for most of Dadaguan residents in summer time, especially after 2015 earthquake.

Water shortage is worse in Halchimara since there is only one tap in the village; and also it is the furthest from the central tank. Therefore, when water in the tank is not sufficient, the tap in Halchimara would get shut down first. Some residents claimed that they don’t get enough water from the tap though the year.

Considering the feasibility and availability, totally eight samples were taken in Dadagaun/Hachilmara – one from the central public tank; one from the public tap; and six from the private gagris in different households.

  • Aathmile Village

Aathmile is a small village with 33 houses and 30 min away from Tinpipple Junction in Jitpur Phedi. Similar to Dadaguan, houses are relatively widely distributed along the slope. There are five public taps in the village providing water for everyday use. Locals informed that four of the public taps link to a central tank near a store; and the remaining tap directly links to a stream, which is 30min away from the village. The public taps linked to the central tank only have 2 hours running water every day as the water in the central tank is insufficient through the year. The tap linked to the nearby stream inconstantly runs through the day since there is no switch on the end.

The water system is disorganized in Aathmile. One family the team visited built their own private water tank and transport pipeline from a nearby stream and led the water to their backyard for daily use. Basically, if a family has enough financial/economic support, it is possible and allowed to build their own tank and pipeline from an upstream water source, which severely results to water supply inequity problem among the residents.

Considering the feasibility and availability, six samples were taken in Aathmile – two from the private gagris in different households; one from a public tap; one from the central tank; and two from the streams (the water sources) to the public tap and to the private system, respectively.

  • Water Quality Condition

To examine the drinking water quality, three main aspects are taken into consideration—physical, chemical and biological parameters—which are detailed into several determinants in the test: electrical conductivity, pH, the amount of ammonia, fluoride, chloride, nitrate, nitrite and thermo tolerant coliform.

Generally, water from different sources doesn’t differ significantly in terms of chemical characteristics which are all within the corresponding standards (Nepal’s Drinking Water Quality Standard) given by WEPA (see Table 1).


Table 1 Nepal’s Drinking Water Quality Standard

Parameters Unit Quantity
Turbidity NTU 5 (10)**
pH   6.5-8.5*
Color TCU 5 (15)**
Taste & Odor   Would not be
Total Dissolved mg/l objectionable
Solids µc/cm 1000
Electrical mg/l 1500
Conductivity mg/l 0.3 (3)**
Iron mg/l 0.2
Manganese mg/l 0.05
Arsenic mg/l 0.003
Cadmium mg/l 0.05
Chromium mg/l 0.07
Cyanide mg/l 0.5-1.5*
Fluoride mg/l 0.01
Lead mg/l 1.5
Ammonia mg/l 250
Chloride mg/l 250
Sulphate mg/l 50
Nitrate mg/l 1
Copper mg/l 500
Total Hardness mg/l 200
Calcium mg/l 3
Zinc mg/l 0.001
Mercury mg/l 0.2
Aluminium 0.1-0.2*
Residual Chlorine
Micro Germs E-Coli MPN/100ml 0
Total Coliform MPN/100ml 95 % in sample


The amount of ammonia in water is not noticeable (same or below 0.2mg/L), which is far less than the limit in the standard.

The results of all other chemical parameters are within the standard; also, the data presents that the variance among different water sources is slight. Therefore, the focus is put on biological aspects—the amount of thermotolerant coliform.

The amount of thermotolerant coliform should be zero according to the standard requirement; and the more bacteria in the water, the larger the number. The data collected shows that thermotolerant coliform accumulated in the gagri, reaching the amount of over 30 MPN/100ml. Moreover, water from public taps is not contaminated by bacteria, which shows no presence of thermotolerant coliform, except for a small amount of thermotolerant coliform from water in Khyalbucha and Deuki Pakha.

In conclusion, water resources, however scarce after earthquake, are not polluted in their origins, which are proved by the slight difference of chemical qualities of water from different sources. Biological parameter is the main aspect in this research that compares the water quality from different sources. The significant difference between water in gagri and public tap; and the amassed thermotolerant coliform in gagri leads to a conclusion that water is severely and mainly contaminated in the households. The exception to this set of data is the surface water in Khyalbucha and Deuki Pakha which shows the fecal contamination as well.


  • Hygiene/Water Usage Awareness and Education Campaign

Based on the questionnaire conducted on the sampling households, the interaction with local villagers and the investigators’ observation, it is concluded that the local residents have very different perspectives and understandings towards the hygiene and water usage. Some of them are fully aware of the importance of applying treatments such as filter, solar light to eliminate germs in drinking water and wash hands with soap frequently; and others may have little knowledge on hygiene and how to keep the family away from water-related sickness. Considering this dipolar awareness of local residents, the team has designed two posters for the following campaign activities (see appendix). Poster 1 aims to help housewives prevent any possible transmission routes of pathogens through hands and water in the house; poster 2 aims to teach villagers the most cost-effective drinking water purification method, solar light disinfection, so they can drink safely from the surface water source.

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