Safe water after the earthquakes

Bringing safe water to Musey village

Himalayan Trust supporters have helped the community of Musey in the mountainous Solukhumbu region build a seismic-resistant water system that will supply safe water to homes in the village.

The safe water system was completed in early 2019. We hope you feel as proud as we do to see the new water system in action.

Earthquake-damaged water tank.

Why it was needed

Like many areas in Nepal, Musey village in the mountainous Solukhumbu region was badly affected by the 2015 earthquakes. Many homes collapsed and the water tank and water system were destroyed beyond repair.

Although Musey is quite close to Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest, it is too far from the main tourist trekking routes to gain much benefit from tourism. Instead, most people in the village depend on agriculture for their livelihood.

Since the devastating earthquakes in 2015, the community has been working hard to build back their homes and their lives.  But the loss of their water system continues to impinge on daily life and their incomes.

The challenge

The current drinking water system in Musey was established by UNICEF over 30 years ago. Initially six water points were set up but now only three are working. Furthermore, the population of the village has increased significantly over the last 30 year.

The water supply is very unreliable. During the dry season there isn’t enough water to serve everyone in the village. Then during the rainy season, whilst there is enough water, it is usually muddy and the pipelines often get blocked with debris.

Ongoing maintenance of the system is also an issue. No one in the community has the knowledge or skills to maintain and fix problems when they do occur.

Water – the most important part of life

Members of the Musey Drinking Water Committee.

Now, thanks to your support, we can help the community of Musey build and maintain a sustainable, seismic-resistant, water system in their village.

The system will pipe water to all houses in the villages

Working with our partner Action for Nepal and the Musey Drinking Water Project Committee, plans have been developed for the water system that will pipe water to all 80 houses in the village, and will include a filtration system that will mean cleaner, safer water for the whole community. The system will also provide water to irrigate crops and supply at least two fire hydrants.

Growing crops; improving livelihoods

Over 65% of the village depend on growing crops for their livelihood. Most people grow crops like potato, maize, wheat, buckwheat and peas.

Musey Water Committee member Lhakpa Gelzen Sherpa explains that clean water will mean better health, but it will also improve livelihoods.

“With the new water system, health costs will be reduced and people will have access to water to expand their cropping pattern to include different cash crops as well. There is a good potential market in Lukla during tourist season if people can grow a surplus of cash crops.”

Fire hydrants in Lukla.

Fighting fires

When our research team asked the local community what they would do if there was a fire in village, people said they would use mud and leaves to put out the fire.

Almost everyone in the village recognised the need for fire hydrants. The current proposal is to install at least two fire hydrants and for local people to be training in how to use them.

Community ownership and leadership

The local community established the Musey Drinking Water Project Committee and they have worked hard to raise over $40,000 so far for the water system. They need to raise a further $70,000 to fully fund the water system. Himalayan Trust supporters are helping them reach their funding target.

“For any project to be successful, community ownership is needed and we can clearly see good community ownership and leadership with the Musey Water Project,” says Lakpa.

Sustainable delivery

Once the water system is established, the community will pay a small charge for using the water – it will be kept to a minimum as the average income is quite low in the village. These funds will help maintain the system. Four local villagers will be trained to fix and maintain the system.

This safe water project will help improve the health and well-being of an entire community for decades to come. It will mean the opportunity to grow food, generate income and improve the health of her whole family. 

Washing day in Lukla.

Building on past success

This project will build on the success of the Lukla Drinking Water Project, a joint project between the Himalayan Trust, Action for Nepal and the community of Lukla, which was completed in 2014.  The Lukla Drinking Water Project now supplies 200 homes and businesses, including many tourist lodges. In an evaluation of the project, a development specialist wrote: “the Lukla water project is the best high-impact, low-cost, community-led water scheme I have seen anywhere.”

“Water is the most important part of life – without it, we can’t do anything,” says Pandi Sherpa, a 59-year-old grandmother and member of the Musey Drinking Water Project Committee. “With this water system, we will have good quality water to stay healthy.  If we can complete this project, we will be able to grow good vegetables and generate a better income.”

Meet Pandi

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