Even before the residents of 420 households in Gelephu gewog could benefit from the water connectivity project from Bhalu River in Samtenling gewog, the pipes burst.

The water connectivity project, worth Nu 41.9 million (M), which began more than two years ago, was expected to supply water by June this year but got delayed.

Gewog officials said the project completed recently and when project officials conducted a water flow test, the pipes burst at the upstream of a perennial river near Samtenling gewog.

A gewog official, choosing anonymity, said that the water from Bhalu River, which is 20kms away, would first flow to a reserved tank at Gunthae Dara, about 18 kilometres away and then drain into another reservoir from where it would then be distributed to residents.

He said that before the water reached the main reservoir, the pipes burst. “It appears that the pipes could not bear the force of the water.” The pipes are 90mm diameter.

According to him, the pipes must have burst because of the difference in the design and the elevation it was laid. “Heavy landslides made the area steep and difficult to lay the pipes.”

The gewog officials also said that the project was expected to benefit more than 1,000 households in future.

PT construction carried out the water project and contractor Pema Wangda said the pipe burst is a technical issue and that he was not involved.

He, however, said that he is still waiting for directives from the gewog office on the procurement of pipes to replace the broken pipes.

Meanwhile, the volume of water in the existing three sources decreases drastically during winter and the gewog faces water shortage every winter.

To make sure every household gets an equal quantity of water, the gewog releases water on an hourly basis to the eight villages.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu