A stone spout once a model of conservation to many other stone spout and community initiatives is now looking for more efficient system that would revive it. Aalkohiti is dying, having the history of more than 1600 years, Aalkohiti has seen many prosperous and adverse years, and at times it gave life- water to majority of residents near it but now with starting of dry season the hiti itself is dying. Like all other hitis of Kathmandu this historic stone spout was counting its days to extinct however people from the surrounding community gave it life by ensuring continuous recharge of water to flow via Rainwater Harvesting, and gave it a modern twist by supplying water to 200 household ensuring the accountability of the water users to conserve the stone spout.
|pond next to aalkohiti at present|
Supported by various organizations, Aalkohiti conservation was initiated by the locals giving it life. Once people discovered the water in the hiti comes only if ground water is recharged, people concluded in artificially recharging groundwater by collecting rainwater of the 300m long pavement. “Two recharge structures were constructed, but at the moment one has been buried as it is no longer recharging while we are also facing problems in recharging via remaining recharging well, resulting in lesser recharge of rainwater,” shared Mr. Sushil Shrestha, a pioneer in conservation of Aalkohiti.
For more than a decade the recharge structure served to conserve Aalkohiti and supply water to more than 200 families in the locality through pipelines and hundreds of other families who collected water without any hindrance except in the dry season. “It was routine that Aalkohiti would dry during the dry season almost for two months, but this year the hiti has dried a month earlier probing acute shortage of water in the locality,” said Anil Shrestha a local resident.
While it is obvious that water source would dry up during the dry season, this time rise in temperature has played its significant role, meanwhile the less recharge of the water during rainy season is another reason that Aalkohiti is not serving people a month earlier than its usual routine. “The situation is being routine these years as we have buried one recharge structure and water recharging has slowed sown in another recharging well,” analysed Mr. Sushil. According to him the recharge well are being jammed with the mud from around the well and blocking the passage of the water as it has closed the pores of the gravel, resulting in less recharge. It is vital that we check and maintain our recharging system and also look for more efficient way to recharge, he added.
The in depth analysis is yet to be done, but for the moment the consequence is Aalkohiti has dried up before the regular time. People are now forced to buy water from the tanker to serve their ends while the functioning of the recharge structures is still questionable.
No doubt, with the adaptation of Rainwater harvesting and Artificial Groundwater recharge, Aalkohiti blessed many. Setting an example, success story of Aalkohiti inspired many other communities to adapt rainwater harvesting for the conservation of the Stone spouts. But at the mean time it has again pressed all other communities to look into the system and check if their system is working properly.
But reality is Aalkohiti has not blessed now due to some shortcomings, it is vital to rectify the loopholes, correct it, if one wants to be blessed with Aalkohiti for ages.