The flash flood of July 22 in Trashigang washed away water pipelines in three different locations at the source near Rangshikhar, affecting about 5,000 residents.

Drinking water supply for the town, hospital and Melphey area has remained disrupted since the flooding. The same water source is also channeled to the Royal Bhutan Police colony in Phomshing and the prison at Lungzor.

Efforts to restore the damaged water source began on July 23 with officials from the dzongkhag municipality office, police and residents heading to the source.

Municipal officials said the four water tanks at the source were intact but the distributing pipes had been completely washed away. Another group of volunteers and officials were sent to fix the damages the next day.

Trashigang dzongdag, Chekey Gyeltshen, said the officials had managed to temporarily replace the broken pipelines towards the evening. However, it was again washed away following rainfall at the location.

“Since the pipelines have suffered major damage we have to replace it with a whole set of new pipes,” he said. “It will take us some time to get the pipes but in the meantime, we have fixed it temporarily so that people can at least have water at homes.”

On July 25, some 15 volunteers and officials left for the source as early as 5am. “I’m told that the replaced pipelines are much stable by now,” the dzongdag said.

Few residents in the forest colony and town started receiving water towards the evening by July 25.

As an interim measure, a private contractor, Ugyen Wangchuk, has been supplying water to the town residents since July 24 from his water tanker.

The water tanker has delivered some 60,000 litres of water to the residents until July 25. “I’m willing to supply the water until the source is fixed,” he said.

One of the hoteliers, Sangay, said the business is affected when there is no water. “There is nothing much we can do without water,” she said. “The dishes get piled up but we get continuous orders. We cannot maintain hygiene in such conditions.”

The fire engine of the RBP is also involved in ferrying water to the hospital. Until July 25, the fire engine has ferried water twice to the reservoir tank.

Hospital officials said with the help of the ferried water, all necessary clinical works at the hospital are in full swing. “There are only minor issues, as there are several patients and attendants who require water on a continuous basis,” said one of the officials.

Meanwhile, residents are also making use of the two spring waters that are tested safe for drinking. While some are capitalising on the rainwater, people are also seen travelled some 5km to ferry water from Pam village and Godi on the way to Rangjung.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang