Chhimi Dema 

A new irrigation system launched on September 16 in Jimithang, Punakha, is expected to reduce water wastage and provide continuous supply to farmers of three gewogs in Punakha.  

The irrigation system uses high-density polythene pipes to irrigate the fields. It will cater to 193 households covering three gewogs of Dzomi, Lingmukha, and Shengana in Punakha. The 13.5-kilometer irrigation scheme in Jimithang village will supply water to farmers of 12 villages.

Lingmukha Gup Sonam Tobgay said that the irrigation system helps in water management.  

“In the open irrigation system, we lose one-third of the water whereas, in the current irrigation scheme, the pipes ensure no water is lost,” he said.

Open-irrigation channels are often blocked by sand or other debris or lost to wild boars digging the ground. Loss of water from leakage is another problem.

Lingmukha is the farthest village from the water source.

The irrigation scheme is expected to benefit villagers who always complain of water shortages during changla (paddy transplantation). “The new irrigation facility will ensure continuous water which would help in our farm yield and productivity.”

According to a joint press release from the UNDP and agriculture ministry, the irrigation system retrofitted with new and climate-resilient technology (also known as climate proofing) is designed to better withstand extreme weather.

“The pressurised piped irrigation system is durable, ensures continuous water flow and improves water-saving capacity and efficiency as opposed to the conventional open–irrigation system,” stated the press release.

The irrigation upgradation works were done from May 2021 to April 2022.

The project worth Nu 30.755 million was funded by the Green Climate Fund and implemented by the government in partnership with UNDP.

UNDP resident representative, Azusa Kubota, said that climate change had led to increased incidents of floods, droughts, and landslides, all of which have hit farming communities hard.

“Investments in climate-resilient irrigation schemes is key to building a sustainable and resilient food system,” she said.