Chinese contractor finishes tunnel digging of Nepal's largest drinking water project

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KATHMANDU, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Two-decade-long wait of Nepalis in the capital Kathmandu to get water supply from the Melamchi Water Supply Project has come close to reality after the Sinohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese company, completed the tunnel digging of the project.

Water was released into the 27.5-km tunnel to test if there is any leakage or other problems in the tunnel on Sunday after the Chinese company's work, Nepal's Ministry of Water Supply said in a statement on Sunday.

Sinohydro was awarded contract in September last year, after the Nepali government terminated contract with an Italian contractor in January last year citing poor performance.

Sinohydro had won the two separate contracts of digging tunnel and the headwork of the project.

It is the largest drinking water project in Nepal in terms of the capacity as it aims to supply 170 million liters of fresh water per day to the capital. Together with available supply of water from existing sources, the Melamchi project will largely fulfill the existing water demands in Kathmandu, Nepali officials said.

"After the completion of the testing process, we will soon fix the date of the inauguration which is not far away," Nepali Minister for Water Supply Bina Magar said.

Sunday, the water was diverted to the tunnel by erecting a temporary dam on the Melamchi river which lies in the north of Kathmandu in the neighboring Sindhupalchowk district.

The project, which was launched in 2000 after years of conceptualization, has long been seen as a sustainable solution to Kathmandu's chronic shortage of drinking water.

Sinohydro has been involved in Nepal in a number of development projects as a contractor and developer of 50MW Upper Marsyangdi Hydropower Project in western Lamjung district. Enditem

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