Thromde to complete RCC wall construction to secure the treatment plant

Nima | Gelephu

With more than 80 percent of the people in Gelephu Thromde depending on the Maochhu water treatment plant for drinking water, any damage to the treatment plant causes water shortages in the town.

This has become a serious seasonal problem.

Residents said that the people and thromde were aware of the problem but there were no solutions to secure the water supply when the treatment plant is damaged.

A businessman from Gelephu said that the thromde and people residing in the town should have been better prepared.

“ We know this would happen in monsoon season but there is no solution to this decades-old problem. We should have explored other ways to supply water beforehand,” he said.

The people in the core town areas get water supply only for 15 to 30 minutes in the morning and evening. Running restaurants and providing hygienic service to the people has become challenging.

The hotel owners drive until Zomlingthang in Gelephu gewog, over 5 kilometers away from the town, to fetch drinking water. Some residents have resorted to buying mineral water.

A restaurant owner, Kabita Pradhan, said that it is important to have an alternative water source, especially during monsoon. “The treatment pipelines get washed away every summer. Climatic condition is expected to worsen and we should be better prepared.”

She added that it was difficult to follow Covid-19 safety protocols when there were limited supplies of water. “Customers don’t come and keeping the restrooms clean is a problem.”

Business communities said that the thromde should strengthen the mitigation plans at the Maochuu water treatment plant and come up with better storage tanks.

Gelephu thromde is managing the water supply in the town using tankers hired from private construction firms and Gelephu airport, bore wells, and from Passangchhu that has improved connection at the source, according to Gelephu Thrompon, Tshering Norbu.

He said that the damage at the plant could have been protected if the reinforced wall (RCC) upstream near Shetikhari and Maochhu confluence was completed last summer.

“The treatment plant won’t have been damaged. We could also have secured the Bhutan football federation’s football pitch. We will be able to assess the damage only after the river subsides,” he said.

He added that the treatment plant at Maochhu is a reliable source safe for unexpected floods during summer.

“The treatment plant would be secured after we complete building the RCC wall upstream. We have approved Nu 10 million for the wall,” said the Thrompon.

Thromde supplies over 2000 litres of water to quarantine hotels using tankers. But, the frequent breakdown of the tankers is hampering the service.

“Supplying water to the hotels with an overhead storage tank is challenging for the tankers without a pumping facility. There are no enough water tankers,” said the Thrompon.

The thromde is also working on the Balaychuu water project to secure the water supply for the residents in the future. The reliable supply line at Passangchhu could prevent acute water shortage, according to the thromde officials.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk