The Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSSM) under Ministry of Water Supply , with responsibility of planning, implementation, operation, repair and maintenance of water supply and sanitation systems through out the country, is the lead implementing agency of the WASH sector where as the Ministry is the lead executing agency.
The Department is also engaged in finalizing a “15 year Development Plan of Nepal WASH Sector” aligning it with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as declared by the United Nation’s General Assembly for coming next 15 year period.
History of piped water supply system development in Nepal dates back to 1895 A.D., when the first BirDhara system (1891-1893) was commissioned in Kathmandu by then rana Prime Minister BirSumsher. The system also led to establishment of Pani Goshwara Adda (The office for water supply) and it provided limited private and community standpipes in few selected parts of Kathmandu. The water supply services were then gradually extended to few other prominent places like Amalekhgunj, Birgunj, Palpa and Jajarkot Khalanga where either the rana rulers themselves or their family/relatives resided.
Till then the sector started to receive a fair priority since the First Periodic Development Plan of 1956-61. But the sector activities were placed still under the Department of Irrigation for a long while until the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) was formally established in 1972. The Department itself was housed under the then Ministry of Water Resources. The sector was largely guided by the policies and programs as pronounced in the periodic and annual development programs of the Government. No sector policies and legislations were at place.
In mid eighties, the water supply sector was brought under the newly established Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning (MoHPP) which after few years was reinstituted into the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW). During this period the sector succeeded in developing essential policies and legislations. In the mean time sanitation also was given due focus along with water supply. Concept of integrated water supply and sanition projects (WatSan) was introduced and stand alonesanitation program was also launched. Later hygiene component was also started to consider as integral component part of water and sanitation interventions (WASH).
In 2011 the MoPPW was further splitup and the WASH sector was placed under newly formed Ministry of Urban Development. Even then WASH sector was seen as matter of secondary primacy. There was demand for dedicated Ministry for Water and Sanitation from the sector and was reflected through the resolutions of the Joint Sector Reviews (JSR 2011 and JSR 2014) of Nepal WASH Secor.
DWSSM is currently implementing various programs both in the urban and the rural areas to achieve these objectives, the national target of universal access to water and sanitation services by 2017 and the MDG (Millennium Development Goal) targets which aim to halve the population (in 1990) without access to water and sanitation by 2015. The MDG targets for water supply and sanitation in Nepal stand at 73% for basic water supply and 53% for sanitation.
DWSSM programs are now being implemented to provide basic water supply and sanitation access, improved service levels in water supply as defined by the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Policy 2009, mitigating climate change effects in water supply and sanitation service delivery, regulation and bench marking of water utilities across the country as well as mass scale promotion of sanitation activities to achieve a complete Open Defecation Free status for the country by 2017 according to the provisions of the National Sanitation Master Plan 2011. DWSSM is committed to provide highly professional water and sanitation services that is both efficient and consumer responsive.Furthermore, DWSSM is responsible for Preparation and operation of management information system (MIS) of water supply and sanitation sector and decision support system (DSS) in long run and Capacity development of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in national level for achieving the goals.
In line with achieving the above sector objective, Government Nepal has set the goal of providing all the Nepalese people access to drinking water supply and sanitation facilities by the year 2017. In 2018 July, Water supply coverage is reached to 87.88% as well as sanitation coverage is 99% .