Phurpa Lhamo

More than a year after a water project started in Dzomi gewog, Punakha, villagers are still waiting for the drinking water to reach their homes.

The water project was supposed to bring water from Pangtsegogo in Shengana gewog and benefit more than 170 households of Khilikhor-Loongkha, Zomisa, Tanga Usa, and Bjimthang chiwogs.

According to Dzomi gup, Dawa Tashi, water connection was delayed as pipe connection burst when water was first released last year after works completed.

“Earlier, the pipes were connected manually with the hot plate welding process. However, we are told that for this volume of water, the connection needs to be done with a fusion machine,” he said.

The gewog has currently ordered a fusion machine through an agent from Thimphu.

According to the gup, the machine, which is estimated to cost about Nu 500,000, will reach Bhutan within the next 20 days.

He added that the gewog has secured about Nu 350,000 for the fusion machine. “Despite the lack of funds, the machine was ordered because of the need for the large-scale project. Our aim is to ensure that water reaches the farmers.”

Gup Dawa Tashi also claimed the gewog administration, along with the farmers, tried to reconnect the pipes.

On April 20, a group visited the site, where pipes burst. “We also brought fusion machine from various working sites to reconnect the pipe joints.”

Of about 9kms distance from the water source to the storage tank, connection with fusion machine was completed in more than 3kms distance.

Meanwhile, farmers of the four chiwogs, said while they understand the issue and the efforts, they have waited too long.

A resident of Bjigmthang said that they are still depending on a small source nearby.

She added that the water was murky and residents filtered it with a cloth piece. “Many go to the river to wash their clothes.”

Initially, the gewog planned to connect the water from Garachu in Shengana for two chiwogs and allocated Nu 2 million (M) in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The source was changed to Pangtsegogo to benefit four chiwogs.

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Nu 9.6M was allocated to bring water for the four chiwogs. An additional budget for water distribution works was also issued in the 2021-2022 financial year.