It’s been about three years since Narphung village in Gomdar, Samdrupjongkhar has been struggling with an acute shortage of drinking water. The water tank at the source and pipelines were destroyed because of the highway widening works.

Today, the residents depend on the water supplied by project DANTAK and rainwater while some fetch water from a pond located about a kilometre from the village. The shortage has affected more than 20 households in the village.

Sangay Tenzin, 63, said that although they faced water problem before, it has worsened with taps running dry for three years because of the Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway widening works.

He said they have reported to the gewog administration and DANTAK officials have agreed to supply water everyday. “Water supplied by the DANTAK is not sufficient and we often have to inform the officials as we don’t get everyday.”

Rinzin Wangdi, 73, said since there was no water supply in the village, they have transported water from Yongminri, about six kilometres away from the village paying Nu 500 for the 1,000 litre.

He said it was a problem for them to get transport as vehicles refused to ply because of the bad road condition.

Another villager, Menlam Zangmo, 53, said she used to fetch water from the pond at least thrice a day, as the water supplied by the DANTAK is not enough.

Without water at homes, she said it is impossible to carry out daily household chores and maintain cleanliness, adding that they could not wash clothes for a month. “It would help if the project DANTAK supply water on daily basis.”

Villagers said they used to make income through cultivating vegetables among others before but they had to forgo it because of water shortage. “We have written to DANTAK for the maintenance of the tank and pipelines but didn’t get any response,” one of the villagers said.

Project DANTAK officials said since the tank and pipelines were damaged during the widening works, they supplied water everyday as per their requirement as they had two tankers. “We cannot supply water everyday today as we have only one tanker but we supply whenever the villagers inform us,” an official said.

Officials said they would carry out the maintenance of the tank and pipelines after the widening works. “It’s challenging for us as we have to transport water from Morong and also supply to the labours.”

There are about 200 labours.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Narphung