Traditional stone spouts restoration, Alkohiti, Lalitpur, Nepal

January 17, 2018


Location: Lalitpur, Nepal
Scale: Zonal scale
Average annual rainfall: 1,600 mm
Last visited:  November, 2013

Rainwater harvested: App. 1000-3000 liters of water per day, except 2 dry months
Catchment area: Natural hill top sub surface


Alkohiti system is the unique water system in Kathmandu valley which is the ancient city which is rich in fertile soil. The historic Hiti system was developed to serve the population of the cities located in Kathmandu valley.

There were two water sources used in the valley; Hiti, which are the water spouts made out of stone at manmade depressions and the other one is Tun which are the dug wells. The source of both the water conduits are shallow ground water.

One such example of stone spouts is in Patan Area in Lalitpur District, where the importance of this traditional system was realized by the community and the system is restored for the water management of the houses.


The system works on the principal of catching rainwater from the depression which further seeps down into the ground water. Thus the natural slope which is also the catchment area of the natural rain water is taken care so that it is not disturbed by any of the development or urbanization. Thus the slope of the catchment area is maintained which helps in natural percolation of rain water through the sandy soil clay soil present in the region.

The water from the spouts is pumped to fill the overhead tank of 1000 liters from 16:00 to 21:30 hrs each day. The overhead tank is used in distribution of water to the households in the community via gravity and branch system.

At the same time (16:00 to 21:30) the tank is operational and continuously filled and emptied to make the distribution system working. The water is supplied from the overhead tanks to the branch system laid on in front of the houses with taps and valves. Each of the connection which is laid on the ground is operational for an hour (depending on the season), where the 15-20 households fills water for their daily needs in their storage containers. The staff which is appointed from the community itself manages and monitors the system.

The Alkohiti system is open for general public for rest of the period of day (before 4 pm and after 23:30). The over flow of the water flows into the adjoining open pond which also has a recharge structure with provision of bore well. The overflow of the water flows into the recharge structure and recharge the ground water eventually. Thus a complete cycle is developed in preserving and restoring the historic Alkohiti system.



During the dry period (for around 2 months), the stone spouts stop working due to the natural balance of rain water pattern in the region. In that period, the water to the community is supplied through the plastic tanks by municipality to the same overhead tank and same distribution mechanism is used.

This restoration of Alkohiti system of traditional rain water harvesting for water management is an example of preservation of traditional RWH system through community participation.


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