Dhunge dhara (Water Spouts)

dhunge dharaDhunge dhara once met all the domestic water needs of the majority of Kathmandu’s residents. The earliest dhunge dhara still in use is in Patan. It was built in 570 CE. Open conduits transfer water from springs and/or aquifers to taps located in a depressed rectilinear pit usually 10 to 30 feet below ground level. A survey in 2001 found 350 spouts in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. In August 2001, 250 of them collectively yielded about 10 million litres of water a day. Their yield generally decreases by about two thirds in the dry months. Some of the taps provide good quality water, while that from others is of low quality. Many dhunge dhara have deteriorated due to poor maintenance. Others have been damaged by urban encroachment.




dhunge dhara

Volume of Fresh Water

If all of the Earth’s water fit in a gallon (four litres) jug, the available fresh water would equal just over a tablespoon.

Volume of water on Earth

All water 1.4 x 109 km3
Fresh water 36 x 106 km3
Note: Different figures are available; these are indicative only
Annual global water cycle
A: Continental rainfall B: Continental evaporation C: Water from ocean to land D: Rainfall over ocean
E: Evaporation from ocean
F: Flow from continent to ocean
Source: Gleick, 1993

Global availability of water



Salt water (in oceans)


Fresh water




River and lakes


Ice caps and glaciers




Nepal’s rivers


Sources: Gleick, 1993 and Pani Ko Artha Rajniti, 1997