Although about 98 percent of the households have access to improved drinking water, the reliability of water supply stands at 81 percent, the population and housing census of Bhutan (PHCB) 2017 report states.
The report states that about 98.6 percent of the total households have access to improved drinking water as of 2017 compared to 84.5 percent in 2005. “Among the dzongkhags, Thimphu and Lhuentse have the highest proportion of household with access to improved water sources of drinking water, while Gasa has the lowest.”
Bhutan living standard survey (BLSS) 2017 had stated that 99.5 percent of people depend on improved drinking water access.
Defining reliable water supply as the availability of water at least during the critical hours—5am to 8am, 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm, and adequate for washing and cooking, the report states that about 29,973 households, which is equal to one-fifth of the total households lacked reliable water supply. This is 18 percent of the total households.
According to BLSS 2017, about 63 percent of households responded to have 24 hours access to drinking water.
Thimphu with 4,591 and Chukha with 2,761 households have the largest number of households without reliable water supply, the PHCB 2017 finds. The report also shows that 69 percent of the total households without reliable water sources are in rural areas.
While 98.6 percent of the total households have access to improved drinking water sources, about 2,231 households depend on unimproved water sources, which includes unprotected well, spring, rivers, streams, lake, pond, dam and other sources as the main source of drinking water.
Of the total households using unprotected water source, about 89.6 percent are in rural areas. With 360 households, Chukha has the maximum households using unprotected water sources.
Other households have piped water inside the dwelling, piped water outside the dwelling, protected well or spring, and rainwater collection as the main source of drinking water.
The report states that about 77,996 households, which is about 47 percent of the total, have piped water inside the dwelling. This is a shift from 9.2 percent consisting of 28,615 households with piped water inside the dwelling in 2005.
Similarly, about 81,694 households have piped water outside the dwelling, which was about 77,500 in 2005.
While 800 households have protected well or spring water as the main source of drinking water, about 280 households still depend on rainwater collection with the maximum users residing in Mongar.
Although 98 percent of the total households can reach the nearest water sources in less than 30 minutes, 568 households still need to walk more than two hours to reach the nearest water source.
Samtse and Trashigang have the maximum households with water sources at least two hours away from home.