Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

About 80 acres of wetland in Petaring in Kabisa, Punakha are filled with paddy saplings this year. It wasn’t the case last year—about 10 acres of land was left barren.

According to Petaring Tshogpa Pema Tshering the chiwog has two water sources but water isn’t enough for the chiwog’s 36 households. “Both water sources depend on the rainfall. Otherwise, people are compelled to leave the lad uncultivated.”

Petaring is one of the chiwogs with severe irrigation water shortage.

The gewog expects budget through the water flagship programme to build a reservoir.

Paddy cultivation in Punakha begins from April.

Lhakha Dem, a farmer in Dochukha, said that farmers had to cultivate early because irrigation water was erratic in the village.

Because Dochukha shares water source from Nyakhulum with several other villages, the farmers of Dochukha receive irrigation  water for just 24 hours once every week.

“The houses near the river pump water for paddy but the households on the upper parts cannot do that,” said Lhakha Dem.

Despite an early start, paddy cultivation would go on until late August in the villages without irrigation water.

“Lack of water affects the paddy harvest,” said another farmer, Deki.

Although paddy cultivation is complete, the saplings will require water for another month for a good harvest.

Dawa Dema from Lungteykha said that because of good rainfall vegetables could be harvested early this year. “About this time last year, we were still cultivating paddy.”