Residents are expecting that the gewog’s full agricultural potential will be achieved

Resource: Tashichholing’s (Sipsu) drinking water situation is not rosy.

While people are still managing to get water this dry season, it is only because they’ve taken matters into their own hands and created illegal connections to the main pipe that supplies the gewog.

With an increase in construction of houses in the gewog, people have dug out the main pipe and connected private pipes of all sizes so that they can bring water to their homes.

There are at least 10 private pipes haphazardly connected to the main pipe. Many houses also do not install taps and therefore water flows freely.

A member of Tashichholing’s rural water committee, Bal Bahadur Giri said there is no monitoring system in place. He pointed out that people have no patience and as a result have been diverting water on their own.

He also said that the committee has been delivering services for decades, free of cost.

Tashichholing gup, Sameer Giri, said drinking water has been a major problem in the gewog. “All areas in the gewog are facing this problem,” he said. “The source has also dried up over the years.”

Tashichholing’s drinking water connection was established in the 1980s. The water is sourced from the Sipsuchhu.

Today the force of water flow has drastically dropped as the gewog’s source is drying. It was also recently found, following tests, that the water is not safe to drink. However, without other options, people have no choice but to continue using it.

But there is hope. A project that will draw water from the Biruchhu is currently underway and scheduled to be completed in another six months.

Funded at a cost of Nu 40 million (M), under the Small Development Projects of the Government of India, the project began in January 2016.

Tashichholing’s engineer TR Gurung said that about 60 percent of the work has been completed as of now.

However, it has also been learnt that the project is slightly behind schedule.

Tashichholing gup, Sameer Giri said that he is optimistic that the new water connection will benefit the people of the entire gewog. He pointed out that a filtration tank is also being constructed as part of the project.

A large irrigation channel is also being constructed along the Sipsuchhu. This channel will provide irrigation water during the dry seasons.

“Our gewog has huge potential to grow vegetables,” Sameer Giri said. “This potential has not been achieved because of water shortage.”

Rajesh Rai | Sipsu