Nepal’s thirsty capital Kathmandu loses centuries-old water taps to construction

From early morning, housewives carrying buckets and brass pots queue in the back streets of Nepal's capital for the free water pumped from a network of ancient stone spouts. A lifeline in a city with erratic government supplies and expensive private alternatives, Kathmandu's intricately carved communal spouts have survived invasions and earthquakes. But the centuries-old water taps are now suffering from a much more modern threat, the rapid development of the chaotic capital, to the despair of thousands of Kathmandu's residents who depend on them. "We don't have the luxury of buying water for everyday use... I don't know what I will do if this stone spout dries up," mother-of-three Namita Maharjan, 34, said as she waited to collect water near her home. The population of sprawling Kathmandu has expanded by 60 percent in a decade, according to

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