Hiti is the traditional water supply system in the Kathmandu valley with an attached tap (mostly carved from stone) channeling water from underground sources or other water reservoirs to public spaces, often built under street level, where people come to collect water. The system is at least  1500 years old but are still in use today providing daily water supply to a substantial part of the population, particularly the urban poor.

Hiti have undergone many name changes. In the Lichhavi period (400 - 750) it was called Kirti, meaning merit, referring to the merit received in the act of building something essential to life. In the late Lichhavi period it was called Pranali. From the Malla period (13th - 18th century) it is popularly referred to as Gaahiti, Hitigaa, Lonhiti, Ihohiti, or simply Hiti, in the Newari language, and Gairidhara, Makaradhara or Dhunge Dhara in Nepali, literally meaning stone stream. 

Because this elaborate system was built by the Newar people, natives of the Kathmandu Valley, I will hereby refer to this system as hiti. Hi meaning moving, and ti is an abbreviation of tila, meaning conduit.

Mangaa hiti, built around 570 AD, at the Patan Durbar Square on Mangal Bazaar

Mangaa hiti, built around 570 AD, at the Patan Durbar Square on Mangal Bazaar

Comment