Many great cities and civilisations in world history have collapsed, their populations forced to relocate, when their water systems ran dry. But in Kathmandu Valley, the hiti water supply systems built centuries ago were so robust that its cities never suffered a shortage.
In the 6th century CE, Kathmandu was the only city in the world that had mastered the technology to sustainably provide drinking water to its inhabitants deep in core residential areas. Free flowing, safe drinking water was available in the city round the clock, throughout the year.
Read more: Saving Nepal’s hiti heritage, Nepali Times
Generations of rulers, merchants and community leaders built a network of ponds, canals, underground filtration systems and artistic hiti conduits as a public service. Since ancient times, kings to common citizens regarded water as a public utility.
Making water accessible to all living beings, human, plant and animal, was considered a social and religious duty. Many mandatorily offered water to the gods as part of the daily ritual worship.
Kathmandu Valley, surrounded by a densely forested rim of mountains, provide the ideal geographical condition for natural flow of water downwards from vast rainwater catchment zones.