DWSS is acting as the lead government department to achieve this target with the following broad objectives:
1. provide and ensure safe, convenient and adequate water supply to all Nepalese, with sanitation as an integral component, and with specific focus on disadvantaged groups;
2. reduce the incidence of water-related dieses prevalent in the country; and
3. reduce suffering and drudgery of women and children, traditionally responsible for collecting water and domestic sanitation and hygiene.
(Source: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector policy, 2004)
DWSS is currently implementing various programs both in the urban and the rural areas to achieve these objectives, the national target of universal access to water and sanitation services by 2017 and the MDG (Millennium Development Goal) targets which aim to halve the population (in 1990) without access to water and sanitation by 2015. The MDG targets for water supply and sanitation in Nepal stand at 73% for basic water supply and 53% for sanitation.
DWSS programs are now being implemented to provide basic water supply and sanitation access, improved service levels in water supply as defined by the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Policy 2009, mitigating climate change effects in water supply and sanitation service delivery, regulation and bench marking of water utilities across the country as well as mass scale promotion of sanitation activities to achieve a complete Open Defecation Free status for the country by 2017 according to the provisions of the National Sanitation Master Plan 2011. DWSS is committed to provide highly professional water and sanitation services that is both efficient and consumer responsive.
The Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS), established in 1972, is the lead agency for the drinking water supply and sanitation sector of Nepal. It is working towards achieving the sector objective of Government of Nepal which is to achieve ‘sustained improvement in health status and productivity for Nepalese people as a whole with particular emphasis on lower income group through the provision of adequate, locally sustainable water supply and sanitation facilities in association with improved personal, household and community hygiene behavior’.
In line with achieving the above sector objective, Government Nepal has set the goal of providing all the Nepalese people access to drinking water supply and sanitation facilities by the year 2017.
Whereas majority of the current figures of coverage are due to the efforts of DWSS in the past, currently many other agencies (such as other government bodies, INGOs, and NGOs) are working in the sector. As such the DWSS is now facing the challenge of integrating the efforts of all the agencies working in the sector towards the sectoral national and the millennium development goals. In order to take on this challenge, DWSS is preparing to start the task of developing database on actual status of coverage, and has plan of networking of available information sources, and formation and activation of sectoral coordination forum. DWSS is currently in the process of devolving all its district level operations to the local district authorities focusing more on central level projects and coordinating activities.
The figure for coverage of population by mid July 2003 by drinking water supply was 71.6 %. In the period mid July 2003 to mid July 2007 additional 2.62 million people have been provided access to supply of drinking water thus increasing the coverage figure to 80.4 % of the population. In this 1 million are covered by programs implemented by DWSS and the rest by other agencies working in the sector. The figure for coverage of population by basic sanitation is about 46%.
These figures, however being through secondary sources, the task of having actual database on current status is started from the fiscal year 2062/63. These database, besides providing the real picture on where we are in terms of actual coverage and overall sectoral status, will also help in identifying areas of urgent attentions.