With temperature soaring every day, Gelephu residents are in dire need of water. The water taps and tanks in Gelephu, however, are running dry.
For the last five days, residents of the thromde did not receive water. They have run out of whatever they had stored in their tanks.
The water shortage had hit the hoteliers too.
The owner of Kuenjung hotel, Binod Pradhan, 50, said that they did not have adequate water for almost a week now.
He said the first thing customers ask before booking a room is the availability of water. “Without it, we can’t run our business,” he said.
He said that at times of acute shortage, they could personally collect water in boleros but there isn’t a source nearby.
His hotel requires at least 5000 liters of water daily but today he receives just about 200 litres. “It is time the thromde took the issue seriously before the onset of heavy rainfall,” he said.
The residents say that they informed the thromde office several times but to no avail.
Having run dry for almost five days, thromde has begun releasing water for about an hour in the morning since May 27.
Hoteliers say the quantity of water released is inadequate and an hour of water flow is not enough.
One of the staff of Starlight hotel, Tshomo, said that for the last few days the hotel has not rented out rooms.
She explained that while customers are already not willing to stay without water, those who stay complain a lot. “The loss we’re bearing is huge, something needs to be done about it,” she said.
She added that the one-hour flow in the morning barely fills a 1000-litre water tank. It does not meet the requirement in the restaurant.
Besides the hotels, the lone resident school in Gelephu town, Kendrup High School, is severely affected by the water shortage.
According to the principal, Tshering Dorji, although the school has not faced the problem as much as it did last summer, the issue needs to be taken seriously. Unlike last year, the school has collected water in boleros and trucks just a few times this year.
He said thromde always has been assuring to supply water for 24 hours to schools but in reality schools receive water for few hours. “Thromde is the only source to get water if they’re not able to supply who do we rely on?” he said.
This year the school has constructed an underground reservoir to store water, which has kept the school running during acute water shortage.
Meanwhile, Gelephu thrompon Tika Ram Kafley said that for the past few days water could not be supplied because the electrical water pumps at the treatment plant near Maukhola River was damaged from lightning. “We didn’t have a spare to replace immediately,” he said.
He said the other source of water supply to the thromde at Pelrithang was washed away by a flash flood.
The thrompon said that everything is now repaired and in place. “Unless there is heavy rainfall, we hope there won’t be a water shortage,” he said.
Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu