Staff Reporter 

Farmers of Pemathang Gewog in Samdrupjongkhar will enjoy a better yield of the popular Khamtey rice (a popular local rice variety). This is because of the construction of Omshari Landmark Irrigation Project in the gewog.

The gewog is also known for Khamtey rice.

The construction of Omshari Landmark Irrigation Project was launched on 11 November coinciding with the Birth Anniversary of Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, marking a significant milestone for the irrigation sector in Bhutan.

A press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests stated that an estimated project of Nu 130.00 million is expected to be completed in seven months. “In pursuit of realizing His Majesty the King’s vision for quality water infrastructures, the ministry in partnership with the De-suung Office and local governments will execute the project.”

The de-suups, deployed through the De-suung National Service Programme, will undertake the project.  “At its peak, the project is expected to engage 120 de-suups.”

Upon completion of the project, a vast expanse of paddy fields measuring over 1,000 acres will receive increased irrigation water supply which is expected to boost rice and winter vegetable productions, according to the press release. It will also provide an additional water supply for areca nut cultivation and livestock farming.

Water tapped from the new source, Raoshingre, will also reduce pressure on the existing one and will serve as a source of clean drinking water for several villages.

The project will benefit 384 households.

The existing Warongri water source doesn’t meet either agriculture or drinking water demands.

Khamtey rice is a variety that is much sought after by many Bhutanese and is a primary source of cash income for the farmers.

The Agriculture Engineering Division (AED) under the Department of Agriculture, conducted the feasibility studies and designed the new irrigation facilities. The division will oversee the implementation of the project, which will feature climate-resilient irrigation infrastructure with proper intake structures.

There will be seven kilometres of 450mm diameter pipe distribution system, eight kilometres of concrete distribution canals, and three drinking water reservoir tanks.

The project will be one of the largest irrigation systems in the country implemented through the Desuung National Service Programme.