The erstwhile Department of Water Supply and Sewerage had been, from the very beginning of its establishment, working to provide easy access to safe drinking water. However, elimination of water borne diseases could not take place as per aspirations. In this context, a separate unit-” Water Quality Improvement and Monitoring Section was established in 2000 (F.Y. 2057/58) with the objective of considering the water quality improvement in existing water supply schemes and constructing and implementing new water supply projects with due attentions to water quality issues. At present, the state has undergone restructuring and three tier governments are formed. So, the department has also undergone the structural changes along with name (new name: Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management). The other sections have been merged to the existing water quality section thus widening its roles and responsibility and getting new name, i.e. “Water Quality Improvement and Service Regulation Section”.
Access to safe water is one of the fundamental rights specified in the constitution of Nepal. Nepal is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030). Hence, the present need is to provide all people safe water by implementing water safety plan as integral part of project implementation aiming at the medium and high level of water services ; improving water quality in collaboration, coordination and facilitation of all three tier governments . The department has estimated that as of 2017, 19% of the population is benefiting from medium and high level of water services (means have access to safe water). The national targets in line with the SDG6, is to have 90% of the population using safe drinking water by 2030. In order to achieve these targets, the section is /will be performing the following tasks/activities:
- Preparation/revision of the drinking water quality standards.
- Preparation of working plan to integrate water safety plan from the very beginning of the project formulation and capacity building activities in these regards.
- Preparation of action plan for provisions of drinking water that comply the drinking water quality standards, 2062. Arrangements of the budget by making proposal and getting approval.
- Preparation of action plan ( short term, medium term and long term)for mitigating arsenic by identifying the water sources prone to arsenic contamination.
- Feasibility/ detailed engineering study and implementation of the water treatment plants that demand complexity in technology by facilitating the provincial level agencies as and when required.
- Coordination in implementation of high technology water treatment plants.
- Maintaining the water quality of the water provided by water systems operated by the service providers or service provided by private sector ; monitoring and evaluation and the regulation of water quality by preparing /revising of regulating standards/guidelines.
- Coordination to operate water quality laboratories in all seven provinces; Management and operation of the central water quality laboratory.
- Capacity building by identifying various programs in order to improve the drinking water quality.
- Management of the data related to water quality and service level.
- Preparation and coordination in implementation of work plan to maintain the water quality and upgrade the service level in the completed water supply projects.
- Study, research in the area of institutional strengthening and water service regulation.
- Program formulation and implementation to assure the safe drinking water during the period of disasters/emergencies.
- Inspection, supervision and monitoring of the construction works of on -going water quality improvement projects.