… New water plant will also supplement Chamgang water source

Yangyel Lhaden  

Come December, residents of South Thimphu could have undisrupted treated water and the Thimphu Thromde undisrupted flow of revenue.

Without treated water supply in areas like Baap Lhakhang and Dr Tobgyel School, debris blocked pipes forces people to tamper with the water meter thereby causing revenue loss to the thromde while also not getting enough water.

However, a win-win situation is on the way. The Thimphu Thromde is constructing a two MLD (million litres per day) water treatment plant at the Royal Thimphu College area which is expected to be completed by October end. The project is under the small development project of the Government of India assistance.

There are five water treatment plants supplying water to Thimphu Thromde which cover all parts of thromde except Pamtsho, Jungshina, Samtenling, Changdelo, Lubding, Semtokha E-4 area, Serbithang and area around Baap-lhakhang and around Dr Tobgyel School. These areas get untreated water.

A house owner in Babesa said that he had bypassed the water meter as debris kept blocking the meter. “The thromde must be incurring losses from such practice as I am not alone.”

A resident near Dr Tobgyel School said that almost once every week the pipe got blocked with debris and leaves. “Whenever there is no water in the house, we go check the pipes and remove the debris.”

Assistant engineer with Thimphu Thromde, Pema Thekcho said that the debris was due to untreated water and the issues would be minimised when the area gets access to treated water soon.

“If an individual is found to bypass the meter or tamper it, an individual will be imposed Nu 5,000 penalty with an average consumption of water bill.”

Pema Thekcho said that an individual was allowed to do maintenance of water pipe but they were not allowed to take out the water meter for clearing the blockage.

The new treatment plant is also going to supplement the water source of Chamgang. The water source in Chamgang supplies water to Changbangdu, Lungtenphu, Olakha, and Babesa.

The residents of Babesa complaint about not getting enough water in winter. “Summer is not a problem but in winter we get water only in the evening which is not enough,” a resident said.

Gopal Tamang, water caretaker of one of the buildings in Babesa said that the house used two water sources, municipal water and community water as municipal water was not enough.

Babesa Thromde thuemi, Namgay Tshering said that the source in Chamgang froze and only when the ice melted the residents got water.

“Over the years, we proposed to tap another source in Chamgang which would not dry in winter but the proposals never made through as many engineers with thromde changed,” he said.

Thimphu Thrompoen Kinlay Dorjee said that to address the water shortage RTC source was expected to complement Chamgang source and thromde was also looking into the interconnectivity of more water sources so that when one source is not enough others can complement.

Thromde engineer, Pema Thekcho said that households who did not get enough water could call the thromde for water tanker service.

Pema Thekcho urged residents of Thimphu to call 1009, the thromde helpline number to avail water-related services. “The service is just one call away and free.”

The thromde office provides services such as maintenance of water pipes outside the building, cleaning water sources, maintenance of transmission pipelines and distribution network pipes, provides water tanker service in areas where there is water shortage. The thromde office also provides services to water-related complaints within the Thimphu Thromde.

The thromde office provides service of cleaning meter blockage to at least three individuals daily. During the second lockdown, the thromde office repaired around ten pipe burst.