Drinking Water in Nepal
The high elevation lands of the Himalayas generally have no shortage of water. As the snows pile up on the mountain peaks and then gradually melt a lot of water trickles down the streams leading down to the rivers and tributaries. There is also a lot of rainfall through the monsoon season and a lot of precipitation is held in the region by the high mountain ridges. Farmers in the area don't really have to give the moisture levels any consideration for their crops and they have an abundant supply for their own needs for drinking water and for household tasks. The water is basically pure, so the local population have adapted to using it for drinking water, but it is not safe for outsiders who have not built resistance to the bacteria. It is necessary to boil the water (20 minutes to be safe) for drinking, and it is usually necessary to filter the water for remove the particulate matter. There are portable water filters available to ensure the purity for consumption.
In villages the water supply is usually delivered from the streams and rivers to just a few faucets in the area. Sometimes there is only one main faucet for the village to share, so a queue can form to fill up water jugs (5 gallons or larger) and for yaks to get a drink. A typical family will use about 15 gallons of water a day for basic needs. Improved water points will be paved in concrete and villagers will bring their laundry to lather up and scrub next to the faucet. This is also a good place to bathe a little bit. Water used for washing dishes or washing hands should be treated with iodine for foreigners.
just a couple of drops for each gallon the water will be sterilized enough
to use for any purpose other than drinking. For the regions further west in
Nepal the water sources and the rains are not as readily accessible, so it
takes a lot more effort to take care of those basic needs. Trekking groups
will always camp near streams or the public faucets so they don't have to pack
the extra water. In western Nepal the trekking groups must conserve the water
supply, since the sources are often up to an hour away, and they have much
simpler meals as a result.