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Clean Water Brings Hygiene and Happiness in Nepal's Small Towns

Video | 18 April 2017

Clean drinking water is giving small towns across Nepal a new lease on life, as ADB joins forces with the government in a ground-breaking scheme that sees consumers taking a direct stake in local water agencies. In 69 of the country's small towns, more than 1.24 million people have come together to make their communities healthy and clean.



Everyone came together and joined hands to make Lekhnath clean.

To make Lekhnath clean.

Bindu Subedi, Founding member of Lekhnath Water User Committee

“Our country is blessed with such abundant water resources, and yet, we were thirsty for clean, drinking water. Not so long ago, it was such a chore to fetch water…”


Shanti used to wake up at 3AM every day to fetch water from the lake nearby for all her basic needs.

Now, when she wakes up in the morning she goes for walks.

Shanti Khanal, Hotelier

“Before the water supply came, we had to inform guests in advance that they would have to wash and bathe in the open. It was not good for our business.”

“Once we received a water connection, we were able to build bathrooms and our hotel business picked up and many more guests started coming.”


Scarcity of water meant that profits were dwindling for pig farmer Khyam Bahadur until fresh water supply brought new hope.

Khyam Bahadur Bhujel, Pig farmer and member of Lekhnath’s Water User Committee

“I started my pig farming business years ago. But water was scarce and I had to close my business. When I got water at the farm I made a fresh start.”


For Meena Kumari, fetching water from the river was a daily struggle.

Now water reaches her rice paddy directly.

Meena Kumari, Farmer and housewife

“There is so much for me to do all day. From housework, tending to my farm, to looking after the children.

“In the middle of all this rush, if I had to go all the way down to the river to fetch water, I’d rather jump in!”

Bindu Subedi, Founding member, Lekhnath Water User Committee

“There was a meeting at the town municipality attended by our womenfolk. “The Mayor asked what we needed most. Everyone got up and said: ‘”We want water in Lekhnath!” We had the full support of all the women in the community.

“We just want water whatever it takes. We are even willing to invest our own money to share the cost. This is what we told them and that is how the project began.”


The Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Projects are funded by the Nepal Government and the Asian Development Bank, and financial contribution and ownership of the community.

Shiva Kumar Amatya, Engineer, Lekhnath Water User Committee

“In this project, we introduced an online billing and payment system for the convenience of consumers. We also have a mobile app system lo log in water meter readings. The meter readers visit consumers’ homes and feed in readings directly into the main billing system. Consumers invested in the project, giving them a sense of ownership and committing them to making it a success. Government-consumer partnership is the reason why this is one of the most successful projects in Nepal.”

Bindu Subedi, Founding Member, Lekhnath Water User Committee

“I still remember when water first gushed out of the tap here, I felt as if Lekhnath had turned into heaven.”


Everyone came together and joined hands

to make Lekhnath clean

to make Lekhnath clean

Everyone came together and joined hands

Everyone is healthy and everyone is happy

Everyone is healthy and everyone is happy


The small towns water supply sanitation projects first, second, and third cumulatively benefit 1.24 million people in 69 towns across Nepal.