Environment Health Issues and Water Quality in Nepal


Nepal’s geographic location is in the south of Asia, and It is a landlocked nation surrounding its boundary with China and India. The country exercises federal parliamentary republic. Nepal has a traditional economic system where a large population is involved in agriculture, where the allocation of available resources is made from primitive methods. For health programmes, the country only contributes around 5% while the rest comes from various private or public NGOs and donations from the rest of the world. The current population of Nepal is estimated at over 27 million, with 42% of people living below the poverty line and 27% with improved access to sanitation according to the World Bank (Worldbank.org, 2019). One of the critical challenges is related to water pollution and water scarcity — the diverse geographical features, from tall mountains to vast plains. Water used by people of this region is freshwater, and the problem of contamination is almost the same in all areas. This report is a detailed investigation based on water quality in Nepal, its environmental health aspects on people of that area and its effects, the current status of the issue, key challenges, obstacles and controversies.

Background to the environment health issue

The Health issues that are prevalent in Nepal are found to be of inferior standards and do not have the resources to reach maximums of the masses.  This is seen mostly in rural areas due to less or no access, low availability, lack of health education and conflicting ritual beliefs. Most of the rural people are located in hilly or mountainous regions with a lack of proper infrastructure making it difficult for primary health care programmes run by both government and NGOs (Budhathoki et al. 2016). The rural health care facility is often affected due to inadequate funding, and most of the health care programmes are centric and run in the capital city of Kathmandu.

In remote villages, the only mode of transportation is by foot, resulting in the delay of treatment and so the death rate is also high due to lack of proper treatment. Political affluence in Nepal is also affecting health care programs as most of the programs are capital centric, resulting in the exclusion of primary health care needs of the rest of Nepal. Due to old age beliefs and lack of political will, the country has failed to decentralise, thus limiting its political, social and geographical strength.

Drinking water is a basic human necessity, but a large portion of Nepalese people cannot access safe and adequate drinking water. In this part of Asia water used by people is mainly groundwater and the problem of contamination is high in all geographical regions, i.e. flat plain called terai, mid-hill and mountainous region, waterborne disease is a significant problem. In 2009 the United Nations human development had reported about the major social concerns in Nepal through the UN Development Report. About 35% of the women who are of the age of reproduction and some of whom are already pregnant are found to suffering micronutrient deficiency. This is observed among the children as well, especially those under the age of 5. Only 24 percent out of 100 children meet with minimally acceptable diet and consume iron-rich food, and only half of the pregnant women take recommended iron supplementation during pregnancy. The most triggering factor for deteriorating nutrition in Nepal is high diarrheal disease morbidity exaggerated due to lack of access to proper sanitation and the common practice open defecation.

However, the government of Nepal has recently introduced national nutrition programmes under the department of health services with its ultimate goal of providing adequate health facility to every Nepali family with proper sanitation awareness (Pokhare et al. 2016), mental and social upgrowth, human capital development and survival.

People or population affected

People living in towns are subject to drink supply water which is polluted whereas people living in remote village areas their condition is even worse as they have to rely on surface water or rain falling from small brooks running from mountains. The surface water is polluted from industrial garbage and domestic waste. Groundwater is mostly used in Terai region where Physico-chemical parameters are more significant problems than the microbial problem.

Without a doubt, the local sewage system is one of the vital sources of water pollution which pours into lakes and rivers. In some rural areas tubewells is the only solution of the water source, but recently it has been found that groundwater, especially in the regions of terai is contaminated by arsenic. The Terai region belt consists of sedimentary layers, gravel deposits interlocked with flood plains carried by rivers which are highly vulnerable to arsenic contamination.(a.vaidya 2019). Seasonal factors are also significant from the dry season starting in the month of March to rainy season ending in the month of September is more prone to water diseases. Living in unhygienic environmental situation risk of food and water contamination is high, children are mostly affected to waterborne, suffering from malnutrition they have a low immune system and are more prone to diseases and an estimated 44000 children die every year in Nepal from waterborne diseases by many surveys conducted by UNICEF report 2009.

Review of current status for an environmental health issue

The capital Kathmandu is located on the area of mid-hills in the country Nepal. Both the surface water and groundwater has been used for the purpose of drinking in the Kathmandu. The particular quality of the drinking water is urbanized majorly in the specific area of mid hill. The municipality named Dharan has also been found contaminated heavily there a suggestion had been given to take immediate action for eliminating the problem on the matter of public health issue through the particular researcher. The particular quality of water and both sources have been contaminated with a general form of faecal coliform. The main reason for the contamination issue in the specific urban area that includes the capital city Kathmandu is the particular source of Kathmandu. There are many issues that can be seen in the city such as issue in the reservoir, lack of the specific system of treatment, the urbanization issue which is unplanned, issue in the distribution system, lack of proper sanitation and there is no specific sewerage system is maintained in the city.

There have various districts where the people fit in a pipe directly to the rivers and streams and the water for drinking, washing, cooking and other daily use. The water is being used for drinking purpose, and almost 72% of the particular sources have been found with a specific microbial contamination issue from both the tap and reservoir. This generally can be seen in the area of Myagdi, which is a district within the particular area of mid hill zone. The main reason is they open defecation in the contamination issues where the drinking water has been affected in the reservoir, source and the particular supply system for the specific district of Kaski. The proper management of distribution system, sewage, reservoir and waste can definitely make a solution of the microbial contamination issue which is required along with particular awareness to the people about the sanitation and water quality. If a better quality of the water can be provided, then it can solve the issue in the capital city Kathmandu.

The government of Nepal has been mentioned the improved supply system of water can reduce the contamination issues, and the citizens of Nepal are getting a good quality of the water. Still, the specific researches have been shown that the particular claimed storage system and the supply of water had been contaminated and that is entirely not safe for drinking purpose. Another solution can be mentioned over here that is chlorination that is not popular among the people of the capital city Kathmandu. The chlorination has not been used in the city because of its unpleasant taste and smell.

The proportion of water and water consumption from different sources

(Source: Nicholson et al. 2018)

As shown in the graph without access to the government of Nepal, the private well and network of piped are using the water of amount 38 lcd in the season of summer. The people who use the government connection those use the amount of 40 lcd and the people who use the private well those use the amount of 70 lcd in the season of summer. Both the private and government connection users have been used the most amounts that are 98 lcd in the season of summer.

Most of the users are from middle wealth or poor who uses less than considered amount of the water. Although 52% of households use 60 lcd in the season of summer, that reflects a significant variation and a severe inadequacy to the water that has been consumed through the specific households.

Household’s water consumption

(Source: Shrestha et al. 2019)

A difference can be seen for the use of other water sources that are based on the wealth group. Some specific differences can also be noted that the particular contribution of different sources of water in the consumption of total water of the household that varies in the wealth status that chart has been mentioned under this paragraph. The household those are poor they generally consume less water for their use from the government connection (Mokssit et al. 2018). They fulfil their needs from the taps and public well and from other water sources of the private vendors. The other household who are wealthier they depend on the free of cost tanker water, own private well and water sources which is public.

Water consumption from different sources

(Sources: Ogata et al. 2019)

The lack of piped water supply access has been increased through a specific financial and economic burden in the household. The particular impact on the economy of the household can be seen because they buy water from private vendors. It has a great impact on the households who are poor because they spend a considerable amount of money on purchasing the water and consuming less as they have a very limited capacity to pay for the water. It has some multiple effects to make the household expenditure and also has some health impacts because the poor households are using the water from unhealthy sources.

The unmanageable supply of the water system with the fragmented cluster of the people who are living in the area of topographically challenged places. A specific research has been shown the lack of decent water quality that has been seen in the capital city Kathmandu of the country Nepal. There are some few studies that have been given approval to the Multiple Survey of Indicator in Nepal. The particular study has been focused on the region that has been illustrated a clear picture of the specific area that should be carried out for further research in the future.

Key challenges obstacles and controversies


Nepal is a nation with the current population of 28 million people, and this is the poorest of nations in this world. Only the population of 43% is living under the poverty line, and there has only 28 % with a proper access to sanitation. There are several issues that have been faced by the Nepal, and these challenges relate to the water scarcity and water pollution. The specific environmental contamination for drinking the water from the source, such as through a conveyance system. This can spread various infections and several diseases like dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and worm. There are several harmful materials can be seen in the drinking water such as pesticides, heavy metals and poisonous creatures. These can reach the drinking water through several routes, and the quality of the water can be deteriorated.

A rapid growth of the population can be seen in the country like Nepal, so for this particular reason, the human activities like disposal of the wastes can be seen, so maximum sources of the water are being polluted. Unscientific disposal of the wastes from the house and other agricultural sectors in the rural village, open defecation has been increased the particular base in microbiological contamination in particular water sources that can be from a ground source, spring and stream (Iqbal et al. 2018). The specific quality of issue in the water can be caused because of chemical and physical parameters, and these have a significant impact on the public health. In the region of Terai, the specific drawdown in the particular water table is another issue because some tubewell has become non functional. The particular issue has been associated with the Tubewell of the Tarain, and that can be correctly attributed to the lack of feasibility that does not include the water quality in the consideration.



The lack of a proper monitoring system and the particular lack of consumer awareness have been included in the maintenance and repair. A provision in the water treatment that is beyond the affordability for the human resources. Frequent landslides and the process of intensive erosion in the hill area that creates destruction to the distribution and transmission system. Commitment, responsibility, actions and guidelines have not been clearly defined in the particular legislation, policies and institutional framework in either the grass root base or national level (Rai et al. 2019). For supplying the quality water, the specialist authorities have some special consideration for the preparation of guidelines of the quality for drinking water and some specific inventories for both the quantity and quality of the water coverage. The particular target of the Nepal government is to supply the water up to the amount of 90 percent water in the rural area and up to the amount of 100 percent water for the urban area. The previous target that has been attributed through the Nepal government that has not been achieved.


Practices of good hygiene, clean water and basic toilets are the essential need for the development of Nepal. Without the mentioned needs, the lives of a million people will be at risk as an example for the children sanitation and water-related disease is one of the significant causes of death. There are many children that die every day from the particular preventable diseases because of the poor quality of the water, lack of hygiene and sanitation (Tosi et al. 2018). There are almost 3.6 million people who do not have access to using the service of essential water and nearly 10.9 million people do not have access to improved sanitation. Nepal has been made the specific progress for expanding the access of sanitation and water in the last few years in spite of several challenges such as difficulty in conflict, terrains and poverty. There are many households who are using improved sanitation facility and also an improved water source. The primary goal of this particular study is to develop and evaluate the selected parameters for the treatment of the claimed water which is available in the valley of Kathmandu so that a specific efficacy of water treatment contamination can be assessed (Maharjan et al. 2018). The particular measurement for the quality parameters had been judged that is based on the quality of national drinking water standards of the Nepal. The specific pH value for the filtered sample of water is beyond the standard level in the time of particular analysis. The pH is not related directly to the risk of health that is essential for the specific disinfection technique of applying the chlorine. There are two samples of the filtered water that has higher conductivity rather than the specific standard limit. The particular conductivity of electricity is a specific measure for the total ion content of the water. The presence of contamination and salt with the specific wastewaters helps to increase the particular conductivity of water. Nepal Academy of Science and Technology had been conducted the climate, and environmental studies in their laboratory and the sample of water had been examined for microbiological and physicochemical quality for exploring the specific contamination issues.


This particular study has been shown the considered microbial contamination of tanker water, filtered water, bottled water and jar water. Some concentration of ammonia is the highest in the tanker water rather than jar water and filtered water. The bottled water is completely safe rather than using other sources of drinking water, and also it has many risks of the specific coliform contamination. This study has been shown the particular contribution for understanding the interconnection in water pollution and the direct connection with public health. Although the water may not always be in the best quality as perceived. This is the reason it has been recommended that water consumption of the human has been appropriately treated because of bacterial contamination. And it should be before the consumption. The particular result of this analysis has been indicated the specific need for identifying the point of critical control with the particular production stages to minimize the specific possible risk.

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