It’s been more than a week since the residents of upper and middle Samdrupjongkhar town have been struggling with an acute shortage of drinking water.

People are carrying water in their vehicles while those who don’t have cars are spending hours every day travelling to the pond, waiting in the queue and carrying water.

A resident, Ugyen, 37, said thromde’s water supply do not benefit them in summer.

She said she fetches water in her car from a pond, which is near an automobile workshop, about half a kilometre from her house.

Without water at homes, it is impossible to carry out daily chores and maintain cleanliness, she said.

“We use thromde’s water for washing clothes and dishes because we cannot use for cooking as it is not clean. It’s worse during summer.”

Pema Choden, 40, said although they face water problems for one to two days, it has worsened this time with taps running dry for about a week.

“We have no other choice but to fetch water from the pond,” she said. “It would be helpful if the thromde could fix the problem soon.”

Thromde’s assistant engineer and head of the water section, Mani Kumar Rizal, said there is water problem in the locality.

He said thromde couldn’t provide continuous water supply because landslides wash away the pipes when there is heavy rain. The pipelines are located on the hilly areas.

Since the water pipe alignment has been there for more than two decades, the supporting pillars have weakened which is why they get damaged soon. These problems, he said, occur only during summer.

“The main problem is the siltation, as the intake from Rikhechu gets filled with silt and it takes two to three days to clear it,” Mani Kumar Rizal said. “But we are supplying water through our two tankers even after office hours.”

He said that the thromde also supplies water door to door through the tankers but on a first come first basis. “If the building has a storage tank, we directly fill that tank and ask the owner to supply water and we keep our tankers there for about an hour to let people fetch water.”

The thromde’s water treatment plant (WTP) is under construction and the trunk line and distribution will be carried out in the next project. “We are confident that Samdrupjongkhar thromde can supply sufficient and clean water to all the residents once the projects complete,” he said.

There are three water sources for Samdrupjongkhar thromde – Pinchina, Dungsam and Rikhechu.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar