Restoring the Hot Water Springs

Project: Restoring the Hot Water Springs for Villages in Rasuwa District

In the foothills of the Himalayas, in Nepal, lies the village of Tatopani (the Nepalese word for ‘hot water’), where, until 2015, a sulphureous thermal spring water gushed. The extraordinary curative properties of this water attracted visitors seeking treatment from neighbouring areas, as well as foreign tourists who willingly deviated to the springs from the busier trekking trails in Langtang.

For some years now, Tatopani has been included in the Lama Gangchen Help in Action Foundation’s aid programme for village communities, with the distribution of food, school materials for primary school children, and aid for the many elderly people living here in extreme poverty.

Following the devastating earthquake in April 2015, which claimed more than nine thousand lives across Nepal, this thermal spring water stopped flowing.

This event, combined with a further loss of visitors during the Covid years, dealt a fatal blow to the modest economy of the village, which was based on the income from small family-run guest houses, tea shops and other activities providing services to the visitors.

The loss of the hot thermal waters has also deprived the inhabitants of Tatopani, and many surrounding villages, of what used to be their only and valuable means of treatment for many health problems: it takes about two hours to walk to the nearest medical services.

The result has been, reluctantly, a gradual abandonment of the village especially by young people who go in search of an uncertain fortune in the Kathmandu Valley, where they often finish begging in the outskirts of the city.

The previously lively local community, united around its ancient traditions, is slowly crumbling: the elderly, the women and the children are increasingly alone and in distress.

The Lama Gangchen Help in Action Foundation, whose objectives include reversing this trend by improving conditions in the villages, asked Claudio Galli (geologist) and Matteo Greggio (engineer) of G&T S.r.l. to carry out a primary exploration in November 2019.

During this visit an exploratory geological site survey was carried out, which, combined with bibliographic research and the support of the University of Geology in Kathmandu and the Geological Service of Nepal, led to the possibility of carrying out a preliminary geophysical survey to verify the existence of a deep reservoir of hot water even after the earthquake.

Thanks to the generous donation of STEIEL S.r.l., to the precious and voluntary contribution of geologist Dr Alessio Pacchini, an expert in geophysics, and to the great professionalism and passion shown by Mr. Umesh Chandra Bhusal and the team of Planet Test Ltd. in Kathmandu, it was possible to plan and execute the survey, which consisted of two geo-electrical alignments, that allowed the electrical tomography of the subsurface to be reconstructed.

The processing of the data, carried out with the help of sophisticated specialised software and the experience of the technicians involved, led us to believe with reasonable certainty of the presence of an important hot water reservoir at a depth of 40-50 m.

The earthquake probably altered the pre-existing conditions in such a way to reduce the rising pressure of the hot water flow so it is no longer able to reach the surface.

For this purpose, the technicians are planning to build a well that will reach the depth where the hot water reservoir is currently located and extract it by pumping.

To achieve this goal, a large sum of money will be needed, which can only be obtained through fundraising, applying for grants and with the generous help of all those who want to make their valuable contribution.

A small contribution for Tatopani is a step towards realising that improving village life is a big contribution to reducing poverty in these countries and giving children, women and men a future in their place of origin!

Distribution of aid in the village of Tatopani
Geophysical survey in Tatopani November-December 2023