Designing water supply systems via web-based survey

Rehabilitation and reconstruction of drinking water supply systems to meet immediate needs for reconstruction of earthquake damaged houses, re-instating the earthquake damaged water systems and for long term domestic use to reduce water fetching time of girls and women has been amongst the key outputs of Purnima programme in Nepal.

Access to safe and reliable water requires complex systems, usage of high lift or solar pumps for water lifting, and longer pipelines for gravity flow with better protection along landslides. To continue with improved service delivery and increase the sustainability of the water supply schemes with robust design, Mott MacDonald has introduced advanced design software application named ‘Softwel Water Supply Project Version Three’ (SW-WSP V3) which has developed the “Water Supply Package” that follows the standards and calculates water demand, reservoir size and plots pipeline profiles, its schematic layouts and cost estimation.

The software allows mobile based detailed surveying application to fix the coordinates of water system components through web-based GPS devices. Survey data completed on the mobile apps is imported onto the computer-based design software, which designs the water system by using the application and minimizes the potentials for human errors. “This method is an advanced technology. It is saving more time as it automatically measures horizontal distance and reduced level calculation with more accurate information,” said Niraj Gurung, an engineer from CARDSN, a partner organization in Nuwakot.

Maps produced through the applications are integrated to national data base (NWASH) developed by Ministry of Water Supply which further helps the government to develop the WASH plan and to update the national data based on the available information.

The design software will help in hazard mapping through google images which will assist in avoiding these areas for pipe alignment and placements of the structure, making the system climate resilient.

Purnima has supported the local government to prepare WASH master plans in ten palikas and for implementation of nearly over 200 schemes. The inventories of all the completed water schemes are also uploaded in the national web portal maintained by ministry of water supply.

The programme plans to link the web-based design details of new water systems with government’s national web portal which will connect local and federal governments to the critical information required for implementation of the schemes.

Implementing partners and programme staff have been trained to use the application and will develop designs for 25 water supply schemes in Dhading, Nuwakot and Gorkha for (Lot 5) programme activities, benefitting 25,000 community people with safe drinking water. “While designing the water supply system, I found the package more accurate and easier to operate. The design sheet is compatible with estimation package and it reduces manual inputs of rates and calculation of transportation costs. The reports are generated automatically saving us time,” said Niraj.

Purnima has ensured reliable access to safe drinking water for over 110,000 people at household yard connection that is easing lives in hard topographical areas of Nepal. The water is not only being used for domestic purposes, but, most of the users are using waste water to improve their kitchen gardens, elevating nutritious intake as well as to grow surplus vegetables for market.

Livestock and poultry farming have also flourished which earlier seemed impossible, as many people had to sell them due to unmanageable conditions. “I sold my buffalo and goats as I could not care for them without availability of water,” said Sabitri, a community member of Gajuri rural municipality.

Today, most of the community people either have livestock or poultry farming at household level and few have boosted it as small and medium enterprises, all because of accessibility of water.


Text: Sofila Vaidya, Shirish Adhikari and Guna Raj Shrestha