Despite abundant water resources, access to water supply remains difficult with Nepal’s mountainous terrain especially for people living in remote rural areas. Many still rely on unsafe sources of water in shallow wells, ponds, and streams. The burden of lack of access to water is borne disproportionately by lowest-income groups and by women and girls as they spend long hours every day fetching water from distant sources.
Women forgo opportunities for income generation while girls reduce school attendance. For people of lower castes such as dalits and other disadvantaged groups who are usually the poorest, water sometimes becomes unaffordable. As a part of its 10th National Development Plan (2002–2007), the Government of Nepal had emphasized the need to improve water supply, sanitation, and community health services as a means to reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth for the poor and disadvantaged groups. The Three Year Interim Development Plan of the Government (2008–2010) also emphasizes water and sanitation services to be accessed by all.