Sherubtse College and residents around Kanglung have a problem every summer. There is shortage of drinking water and when there is water, it is muddy, unfit for drinking.

It has been more than five months without enough or clean water, students claim. The problem arose, this time, after a construction company dumped its construction waste above their water source. It is worse when it rains, which in not scarce this time of the year.

A first-year student, Tashi Choden said the water has been muddy few days after she joined the college. “We are forced to buy packaged drinking water.” Tashi and her friends harvest rainwater to clean the toilets and the surrounding. “It is difficult to maintain cleanliness without water.”

Another student, Sonam Wangchuck, said it is difficult for students staying as “self-catering” around the college. “The supply is so erratic. We managed by fetching from a nearby spring water.”

The problem is aggravated when many students queue for water at the spring water for drinking and washing. “By the time we get water and cook meals, we are late for class,” he said. When the water is muddy, students postpone their laundry, for weeks.

A student said that boys are luckier with the small spring water near the hostel. “The girls don’t have any. They are facing more difficulties than us.”

With the highway blocked between Trashigang and Kanglung, shops are also running out of bottled water.

College President Tshering Wangdi said the water source was washed away by heavy rainfall between July 11 and July 14. “We bought 700 meters of pipe and just completed the work at the site where the contactor has dumped waste.”

The President explained that the college has two water sources, the stream above Rongthung village and another where the contractor dumped the loose soil. “The moment it rains in the hills, the water gets dirty,” he said. “The situation is only during the three to four weeks of monsoon,” he added.

The management has received Nu 53 million in the 12th Plan to improve the water connectivity. “We are ready to execute the work. Hope this will improve the problem.”

It was learnt that the problem this year started after the construction of a water supply Scheme in Kanglung regional hub started.

Neten Dorji | Kanglung