Every year on March 22nd, communities around the world celebrate World Water Day – an opportunity to highlight the importance of safe and accessible water for a healthy and vibrant life. While water is one of the most valuable resources for any community, some of dZi’s remote partner communities face tremendous water challenges. Rising demands due to an increasing population and climate change-induced water shortages have further escalated the magnitude of these problems. However, with residents’ dedication and the expertise of dZi’s staff, communities across Eastern Nepal are creating resilient systems to protect this vital resource. This World Water Day, we’re excited to share the story of one of our drinking water projects under construction in the beautiful village of Chheskam.
A partner of dZi’s since 2011, the village of Chheskam lies in the Solukhumbu District, which is the home to Mount Everest. It has been a few years since Nepal’s expanding road network reached the village, but despite the significant changes it brought to daily life in Chheskam, community members still lack basic access to safe drinking water. In the Bokchamsido neighborhood of Chheskam, the lack of safe and adequate drinking water has made life strenuous for hundreds of residents. They have been relying on a decades-old water system, which is falling apart.
Last year, community members identified the need for a new, more reliable, drinking water source. dZi’s staff studied the local landscape, developed a design that would meet the residents’ needs, and a plan for Bokchamsido’s new drinking water system was born. The new system, slated to be completed in the next few months, will pipe safe drinking water to 125 households, two community buildings, and one school, providing water access to 825 residents. Along with solving drinking water problems in Bokchamsido, the project will help improve sanitation and community health. Daini Prasad Rai, a teacher of the Ratna Pragatisheel Primary School in Bokchamsido, shares that his students would often arrive at school without washing their faces or would be late for class if they had to wait in line to take a bath at the communal water tap. Daini is hopeful that the new water project will remove these barriers to education and make maintaining proper hygiene easier and more accessible to all.
However, dZi still didn’t have a way to fund Bokchamsido’s vision for safe and accessible water.
Enter Kim, Pete, and Chauncey Erskine, as well as the rest of the Mexicali Blues team! Having visited Chheskam in the past and funded similarly transformative projects in their community, they knew they wanted to make Bokchamsido’s vision a reality. To raise the money, Mexicali Blues has decided to donate 100% of the sales from their new Mexicali Traveler Water Bottle to fund Bokchamsido’s drinking water project! With their creativity and the generosity of their customers, over 800 community members will have access to safe water.
As the construction of the project progresses, residents are eager to see their vision come to life. Nima Diki Kulung, who is the treasurer of the Bokchamsido Drinking Water Project shares, “All the villagers would flock to the communal tap to fetch water and we would have to wait for a long time to get our turn. We are so happy now that each of us will have water at our doorstep.”
Beyond the drinking water and sanitation services this project will address, it has also generated short-term employment for more than 200 community members. Those working on the project have exciting plans for how they will spend their additional income. While many of them will be using the money to support their families or pay off educational expenses, others have entrepreneurial ambitions.
Mangaldhan Kulung who is working as a semi-skilled laborer on the project wants to use his money to start his own pig farm. He explains that he couldn’t imagine starting a farm without reliable water access, but with a new water system in place, he feels confident launching his business.
At a human level, water cannot be seen in isolation. Water is critical for survival, food and energy production, and the overall well-being of any community. Thanks to the vision of Bokchamsido’s community members and the generosity of Mexicali Blues, this water project will become reality. Now here’s where you come in. Want to support Bokchamsido and enjoy a cool drink on your next outing? Visit Mexicali Blues to buy your own bottle and have a hand in ensuring safe water access for generations to come.