Lubding residents deprived of water

Resource: Two years after the completion of the Lubding water supply tanks in Thimphu, residents are complaining that a division tank has been empty for more than a month and residents are not receiving water.

The two water reservoirs tanks with holding capacities of 100,000 and 50,000 litres each were constructed at a cost of Nu 2.2 million with support from the Indian government’s Small Development Project I in 2014.

A Lubding resident, Dorji, said that the thromde promised to provide continuous water to the residents during the inauguration of the tanks. “The thrompon promised that the tank would cater to about 100 households while, the smaller tank caters to only 24 households.”

Dorji claimed that the tank was never full after the inauguration and residents did not get a continuous supply of water.

“I spent about Nu 104,000 for laying the pipes from the tank to my house,” Dorji said. “I called the thromde officials several times about not having water in the tank but the problem remains.”

Dorji added that the gate to the lower water tank cannot be closed and some of the pipes were also stolen. “I wrote to the Thimphu thrompon two weeks ago, requesting to look into the matter and also to the prime minister in June last year.”

Another resident, Phurba Tshering, said that it has been about three months sine his family did not get water from the thromde’s reservoir tank.

He visited the bigger water tank about three months ago when his household did not get water. He found that the main pipe connecting the tank to a source was broken. A thromde official told him that they would fix the pipe immediately, when he complained.

On his second visit, he saw that the broken pipe was connected with a five-litre cooking oil jar and there were some leakages.

Phurba Tshering said that he and the other tenants in a building had been sharing  water from the house owner’s private water source for the past three months. “The water from the private source is just enough for basic uses like cooking.”

However, the thromde’s engineer with the water supply division, Dawa Penjor, said that the thromde has been working constantly to fix the problem.

About eight thromde employees with the water supply division had been working at the water source at Thradra Goenba for about two weeks last month.

“It must be true that some households didn’t get water for the past few weeks but it’s not because there is no water supply, water is there but the supply was not equal,” Dawa Penjor said.

Moreover, ice had disrupted water supply to the area in the past few weeks, he added. “Removing the ice from the water pipes to clear the water supply takes time as the pipes had to be cut.”

He pointed out that the residents had also been interrupting the water supply because some of the water valves are fully open, while some are controlled. The locks of the master valve and the gate to the tanks were found broken.

“We have sent our another three men to the source to re-check the water supply line,” Dawa Penjor said. “Of three sources, a source has dried up and the water in the pipes frozen.”

Hereon, the residents will get water at scheduled times. “Continuous water supply is not possible because of low water pressure,” Dawa Penjor said.

The thromde has assigned a zone plumber for the area who is supposed to visit the site on alternate days. It is not possible for the plumber to visit the tanks everyday because they are located outside the city and it takes at least an hour to walk to the tank, Dawa Penjor said.

The plumber who is in Phuentsholing attending a training currently will be stationed in Lubding once he is back. The construction of a quarter for the plumber is complete and it is yet to be handed over to the thromde.

Dawa Penjor said that once the plumber is stationed in Lubding, the water supply and valves will be monitored so that public cannot disrupt the supply and also to ensure that there is supply of water to the residents.

“The residents can directly contact the plumber if the residents have any water problems in the area.”

Dechen Tshomo

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