Kathmandu, Dec. 3: In Nepal, 10.8 per cent population still lacks access to basic drinking water facilities, the government officials said. The Ministry of Water Supply has said that it has planned to provide basic drinking water facility to 92 per cent people by the end of the fiscal year 2020/21. Ritesh Kumar Shakya, joint secretary and spokesperson at the Ministry of Water Supply, said, “The government has a plan to increase the population having basic drinking water facilities to 92 per cent from current 89.2 percent.” According to Shakya, the Ministry will launch various programmes targeting to meet the plan after introducing a new and first-ever integrated Drinking Water and Sanitation Act, the bill of which is currently waiting for its endorsement in the Federal Parliament. Basic drinking water is defined as the water directly supplied to consumers from sources that could be risky at times. Coverage of basic drinking water was 36 and 61 per cent during 12th and 13th Five Year Plan respectively. “Within the next three years, the government will provide drinking water facility to 100 per cent people and our programmes will be designed accordingly,” joint secretary Shakya said. After the introduction of the new Act on drinking water and sanitation, many halted plans and programmes would be resumed to meet the goal number 6 of the Sustainable Development Goal, that is safe water for all by 2030, Shakya said. Meanwhile, coverage of access to safe drinking water as guided by SDG-6 has been far from satisfactory. According to the Ministry, only 21 per cent of the total population has access to processed and safe drinking water. “This is because the government earlier focused more on expanding water supply coverage,” Shakya said. “As dreamed by the 15th Five-Year Plan of the National Planning Commission and the Ministry, We have also set our plan to manage the coverage of safe drinking water for 35-40 per cent of population,” Shakya said. Nepal as per the SDG goal number 6 has to meet cent per cent coverage in safe drinking water by 2030. According to a record at the Ministry, State 5 is ahead of all other States in the country in providing basic drinking water and Karnali State lies in the bottom. The Ministry’s data showed 98.97 per cent of the population in State 5 has access to basic drinking water. In Karnali State, only 70.45 per cent of the population has access to basic drinking water facility. Also, 51.95 per cent of population receives basic drinking water supplied from pipelines while 21.58 per cent receive water from personal tube wells, according to the Ministry. Namaste Lal Shrestha, sanitation specialist, said the Ministry and all private and community organisations should concentrate more on providing processed drinking water as 80 per cent of the communicable diseases in Nepal are attributed to contaminated water and poor sanitation. Shrestha said the reasons for bacterial contamination of water are inadequate protection of water sources and waterways, open defecation at sources and poor maintenance led to cross leakage of sewers in water pipes in the urban areas. Ramakanta Duwadi, joint secretary at the Ministry, said the new law has provisioned to fix these problems. The bill has separate provisions to conserve water sources. Article 35 (4) of the Constitution states that every citizen shall have the right to access to clean drinking water and sanitation.