Nim Dorji | Trongsa

With funding from Tangsibji Hydro Power Project, villagers of Tangsibji in Trongsa are reconstructing a 230M long irrigation canal, which was washed away in 2017.

Falling boulders and slides of the project’s adit III dump yard, located above the irrigation canal, was blamed for damaging the canal and causing inconveniences to villagers during paddy cultivation.

The project funded Nu 600,000 to construct the canal and the villagers are contributing labour.

The canal reconstruction is expected to bring uninterrupted irrigation water supply from this year.

Tangsibji gup, Gyembo Dorji, said the irrigation canal would benefit more than 103 households in the village to cultivate about 200 acres of paddy fields.

He said Nikachu project has built retaining walls at the dump yard above the canal, but the monsoon washed it away, damaging the canal.

“We even connected pipes to bring water, but the pipes were also damaged by falling boulders,” the gup said. “People have to visit the site daily during the paddy cultivation.”

Tangsibji tshogpa, Wangchuk, said that 95 percent of the canal construction is completed. “The construction of 50ms retaining wall has begun”

He said that if the retaining wall is not constructed, there is the risk of falling stones and landslide near the dump yard.

A villager Sangay Lhamo said that irrigated water used to be clean and they was used for cultivation, feeding animals and even to drink sometimes.

She said after the project construction began, seepage from the tunnel, dirt and other chemical components drained into irrigation water. “We could not feed it to animals.”

Sangay is expecting the new canal would resolve the problem.

Meanwhile, the lack of water in the canal also brought mini hydel in Tangsibji to a halt.

The mini-hydro was constructed in 1985 and supplied electricity to about households in the locality then.

Gup Gyembo Dorji said that power from the mini-hydro was enough to light 40 households but later when people started using electrical appliances, the power was sufficient for only 13 households.

With the mini hydel defunct, the households that use power from the mini-hydro were connected to the power grid from Kurichu power.

According to the tshogpa, locals consider the mini-hydro precious, as it supplied electricity to Tangsibji village for a long time. “Only Tangsibji village had electricity when many villagers used resin and kerosene for lighting purposes.”

He said the mini hydel will also start producing electricity once the canal reconstruction is complete.