People Throng Tap To Fetch ‘Pure, Tasty’ Water

Bhim Khatri, a resident of Ward No. 1 of Pokhara, in Kaski district, routinely comes to Ward No. 6 of Gaurighat, in Lakeside, in the same district, on a scooter carrying an empty water jar. He then fills the jar with water coming from a public tap in that place, and returns. The reason? The water coming from the tap tastes better and is free.
“Ever since I started drinking water from the tap, I haven’t drink water from the jar brought from the market,” Karki said.
Pokhara’s tourist areas wear deserted look at the moment due to resurging COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. However, crowds of people coming to fetch cold, clean and pure water from the Gaurighat tap, where water is brought from Raniban, never ebb. Lakeside has seven such water taps, in and around where people throng to fetch water every day, from early morning to late evening.
Manmaya Pun, a resident of Birauta, Pokhara-17, comes to a tap in Ambot carrying a small jar contained in a doko (a basket made from bamboo). “It costs Rs. 60 for a jar, but with no jobs now that has become unaffordable. So, I come here to fill water from the tap which is not only pristine but is also tasty and free,” she said. Some women come on foot to collect water carrying jars with them; others come on scooters and bikes.
According to Hari Maya Giri, a local, people come to Lakeside from Ram Bazaar, Nayabazar Island and Bagar to fetch water.
“Even during the prohibitory period, crowds of people are growing bigger and bigger. People are seen collecting water from 5am in the morning to 11pm in the night. Sometimes, the crowds become unruly, and police have to be called in to bring the situation under control,” Giri said.
Hari Bhujel, another local, expressed concerns about the crowd around the tap in front of his house even during the ongoing pandemic. He said that those coming to fetch water complain that they were not able to drink water from another taps in their localities and that since their income had dried up they no longer can afford to buy a jar of water from the market.
Expressing concerns, Bhujel, who is also the current president of the Tourism Entrepreneurs and Traveling Agency Association (TAA), said that no health safety measures were followed by the crowd seen in and around the public taps.
He added that he had been drinking water from the Gaurighat tap for 25 years now and that the tap had been protected with the financial support from the locals and social workers because the water there is pure and tastes sweet.
“So many people have been drinking this water for so many years now, but nobody has fallen sick or contracted any disease after drinking this water. Some foreign tourists also drink this water directly from the tap,” he said.
According to Bhujel, the water in the tap is brought from their sources in Myokhola in Raniban.
Every day, from morning to evening, 500 to 700 people come to fetch water from the tap. Clean and fresh water that comes from Raniban can be fetched from a host of taps set up in Gaurighat, Ambot, Fistel gate, Basundhara Park and Barahighat.