It has almost been a week since residents of Gelephu thromde have been facing irregular water supply, resulting in water shortage.

Residents say the water supply timings are also irregular.

They say the thromde initially released water twice a day, between 6am to 10am  and between 2pm to 10pm  but that has not happened in the past few days.

A resident, Wangdi, said that although thromde provides water, it is not sufficient for a day.

He said there is no water source nearby to collect water. “We resort to mineral water most of the time for cooking and drinking.”

Wangdi said that without continuous water, maintaining cleanliness is difficult. “The toilets and bathrooms stink.”

The irregular supply of water has also affected the hoteliers.

Despite having storage tanks, there isn’t enough supply to fill up the tanks.A hotelier, Raju, said that the shortage has forced them to reduce the number of room they rent. “If all rooms are booked, we can’t provide water enough for all rooms.”

While residents and business community blame thromde for the irregular water supply, the thromde claim that despite providing water, there is a shortage because they do not have storage tanks.

Following the major flash flood in 2016, Gelephu thromde with fund support for the government carried out major flood protection works at the water treatment plant near the Mao River. The flash flood in 2016 has buried the treatment plant.

Gelephu thrompon, Tika Ram Kafley, said that while it is not practical to release water 24 hours from the treatment plant because certain hours are required to keep the tank filled by pumping water from Mao River.

The capacity of the water treatment plant is 6M (million) liters per day. At least 80 percent of the thromde residents benefit from the tank.

The thrompon said if residents are responsible and kept a storage tank, they wouldn’t be water shortage.

He, however, said the thromde is unable to supply water when there is electricity fluctuation. “Without electricity supply, the two electric pumps don’t pump water into the treatment plant.”

Tika Ram Kafley said the generators are not able to pump the water.

“To resolve this issue, the thromde has requested Bhutan Power Corporation to find ways to not disrupt electricity supply to the treatment plant,” the thrompon said.

 Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang