Facility: Heavy rain flooded Trashigang town’s drainage system last week. It was a reminder that the town’s drainage system needs serious attention.
The rain also flooded pockets of Trashigang Middle Secondary School (TMSS).
A few months back, about six metres of concrete drain outlet in Melphey was washed away by heavy rain that caused erosions up to a kilometre down stream. Roads were also washed away. In 2013, a flood along the same slope washed away a wooden house, a temporary shed and five people, including a schoolgirl.
Dzongkhag Engineer Lekjey said that the main factor causing overflow of water during monsoon is the numerous blocks along the drainage networks. “The drainage system in Trashigang needs to be improved. Blockages force water onto the roads, resulting in floods and erosions.”
With the number of houses increasing in the town, he said that more drains get connected to the outlet, adding to the pressure.
“We have plans to increase the width and depth of the drains in areas where it is necessary. A storm water drainage system is also in the pipeline,” said Lekjey.
The dzongkhag and the thromde are in the process of diverting heavy rainwater from a drain outlet towards a gulley in Melphey area. Melphey is located on high gradient slope along which most areas of the township falls.
Dzongkhag education officer (DEO), Phuntsho, said that the recent incident in TMSS was the first of its kind. “Given that we never encountered such problems before, we didn’t have any plans to improve the drains, but we must do something about it very soon.”
Drains along the school area (old) were constructed in the 1960s with a capacity to only drain the runoffs from the roofs. The recent rainfall has eroded one side of the school’s recently expanded football ground.
As a temporary measure to prevent further risks of erosions, the school has plans to get tarpaulin sheets from the dzongkhag disaster management office to cover the eroded areas.
“The soil in areas where the cuttings were carried out is sandy and bare,” said Phuntsho. “If need be, we will raise a wall, but that will depend on budget availability.”
Without a proper and strong drainage system, residents said the blockage and rupturing of water supply pipes is frequent during summer, which results in water shortages.
Thromde engineer Pema Dechen said that the office is working with the works and human settlement ministry to design a new network of pipes for water supply.
“The existing water pipes were laid in the 1980s. It is high time we changed them,” she said.
By Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang