Residents use irrigation water for drinking

Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing  

The nationwide lockdown has forced residents of Dorokha town in Samtse, who faced acute shortage of drinking water, to use irrigation water for drinking purposes.

Residents usually ferried water in their vehicles from a nearby source, Bangay, but after the lockdown, they had to use pipes to connect water. Bangay water source is an irrigation water link for Tarigang village.

The town is actually connected to drinking water from a source at Sisney but the water supply is inconsistent.

Bangay water source is just about 2kms away from the town, while Sisney is more than 8kms away.

Residents said that using water from Bangay as a temporary measure is also difficult, as people from Tarigang often stopped the water.

A town resident, Yeshey Wangchuk, said they have been grappling with water shortage for a year.

“Bangay source can provide plenty of water for us,” he said. “But our pipes are always removed by the people from Tarigang. We had to seek permission from the police to go to the source and connect each time.”

Another resident, Tshering Wangdi, said they have written to the gewog office several times but nothing was done.

“If we had water for one hour from Sisney source, there would be no water for a week. That’s how the condition is,” he said.

Another resident, Deepak Mukhia, said they have also appealed to the Tarigang village committee to let them use their source but to no avail.

“Every time we connect our pipes, they remove it,” he said, adding it was a challenging time without drinking water during the lockdown.

Although there are just 12 houses affected, the water shortage also affected those living there in rented units.

A town resident said he remembers his parents working for two sources at Dogap and Basantay.

“With rapid development taking place in Dorokha, water was still not sufficient and we were promised by gewog to provide sufficiently from the present source at Sisney,” he said. “But we still face shortage.”

Dorokha gup Padam Bahadur Rai said Sisney water connection has maintenance problems.

He explained that Dorokha drungkhag and gewog developed Sisney water source for the town in 2016 and 2017. As supply was still not sufficient, another source at upper Sisney was also developed in 2018-2019 to cater to other institutions and Maney village in Dorokha.

“However, there was construction going on and the source is very far and town people are reluctant to go for maintenance and look for a closer source,” he said. “The lone plumber couldn’t visit the site often for maintenance.”

According to the gup, town residents also connected pipes at Bangay without consultation. “Water from Bangay wouldn’t be sufficient to all the town residents and they have to rely on Sisney water connection.”

Gup Padam Bahadur Rai said Bangay source is used for irrigation in more than 140 acres of land in Tarigang.

For now, the gup said he has asked Tarigang villagers to allow town people to use the water.

“Town residents have appealed to us but we haven’t been able to take action due to the lockdown.”

He said they would discuss the issue after the lockdown.