A plan to keep water clean

A valuable tool for thromdes to ensure that every household receives safe supply

WSP: Officials from the ministry of works and human settlement (MoWHS), 14 participants from Thimphu thromde and a WHO consultant are developing a Water Safety Plan (WSP) for Thimphu city.

Tshering Choden, executive engineer with MoWHS, said the Water Safety Plan was a valuable tool to guide the thromde to ensure that every household received safe drinking water supply.

“With the WSP, different parameters to ensure water quality, such as measuring the PH balance of water, checking the presence of bacteria, its turbidity and presence of chlorine, among others, will be thoroughly maintained with the set of national standards in place,” said Tshering Choden.

Currently, water supplied at homes is chlorinated and safe for drinking.  WSP will further ensure that there are minimum contamination from source, reduction or removal of contamination through treatment processes and prevention of contamination during storage, distribution and handling of drinking water, said Tshering Choden.

“Therefore, WSP is the most effective means to ensure safe drinking water supply through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and management, which includes all steps in water supply from the water source to consumer,” said Tshering Choden.

The guidelines also provide space to improve infrastructure for safe drinking water and to identify potential threats related to water quality, to identify control measures to improve threats, and to monitor for the sustainability of safe drinking water supply system in the country.

“We hope that we’ll be able to provide water that can be directly consumed from the tap,” said Tshering Choden.

The plan will reduce water borne diseases.

Daryl Jackson, water quality expert and a consultant to WHO, said that, in any water systems, protecting water quality was important.

“No matter how good the system is, there’s always a potential for unsafe water to get through, and the WSP will minimise the potential for such unsafe water to reach homes,” said Daryl Jackson.

Minjur Dorji, thromde’s executive secretary, said that, once the thromde has a water plan in place, the thromde can provide better quality water to the residents.

However, during monsoon season, water turbidity increases.  That will be addressed by WSP, said Minjur Dorji.

Currently, the public health department and the thromde labs test the drinking water supplied at homes.  The testing is done twice in a month and the frequency increases during monsoon.

WSP will be implemented by the thromde from next week.

With support from WHO and Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade,  MoWHS has trained and developed WSP for 22 urban towns in the country.

By Thinley Zangmo

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