Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

Residents of Lingmukha, Dompala and Omtekha villages in Punakha are grappling with irrigation and drinking water shortage for decades.

Water source for the three chiwogs is located in Lingmu Terchu, which is located about an hour away.

A villager, Tsagay, said water shortage forced him to leave his 1.75 acres of land fallow and sharecrop a land closer to the water source.

He said he cultivated the field initially but left the land fallow since 2010 because of water shortage and human-wildlife conflict.

Another villager, Kinley Namgay, 47, said that with only one night to fill their fields, the water wasn’t enough for the households.

He said water is small at source and could hardly fill a four inches pipe. “If there is rainfall then paddy cultivation is easy. The sources depend on rainfall.”

Similarly, drinking water sources are also drying in the village. Villagers depend on small erratic spring waters in the chiwog.

“Most small drinking water has been sourced to places nearby or outside Lingmukha chiwog. But now these spring waters are also drying,” Kinley Namgay said.

In Lingmukha chiwog, while majority of wildlife conflict issues have been resolved with electric fencing, minor damages continues.

According to the tshogpa, Dawa Zam, wild animals damaged about two acres of paddy field last year.

She said that while electric fencing helped against animals such as deer and monkeys, the fence does not deter wild boars.

The tshogpa said villagers spent more than Nu 60,000 to maintain the electric fencing this year.

“It was really difficult in the past. Farmers had to guard their fields every night. Now they don’t have to do so often.”

Edited by Tashi Dema