In an effort to deliver uninterrupted, clean and safe drinking water to the town residents, works to substitute the existing water distribution network is going on in Trashigang.

The dzongkhag’s four-decade-old water distribution network would be replaced in the next 18 months under the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) project to improve urban water supply.

Dzongkhag municipal officials said that given the oldness of the distribution pipes, it was high time that the whole network is replaced to reduce leakages.

The water distribution network was first constructed in the early 1980’s.

The new distribution pipelines will run some 1.5km covering the core area, the hospital and court areas including the extended town area of Melphey.

The pipelines will also take a new primary route along the roadside from the storage tank located at the top of the town in Melphey.

Once completed, the new distribution network will cater to some 610 households that include about 2,500 populations in the town area.

While the project duration is due only in early 2020, municipal officials said that they are expecting by this time next year, the town would have uninterrupted, safe and clean drinking water.

The project is being carried out at a cost of Nu 34 million by a private contractor.

The dzongkhag officials have also proposed for an additional and alternative water source from Godhi in the 12th Plan.

Currently, the town has two sources at Rangshikhar and Phobla. The water is collected at the raw water tank with a capacity of 250,000 litres in Melphey.

The third source was washed away during the recent flood on July 22. “In future, if one of the two sources is again washed away, we need to have a backup source up and running,” said an official. The Godhi source is located at some 7km from the storage tank.

Meanwhile, last year the dzongkhag installed a 2.4-million-litre-per-day (MLD) capacity automated water treatment plant in Melphey. The water treatment plant consists of four filtration tanks (two primary and two secondary tanks) that filter water at the rate of 100,000 litres per hour.

The automated water treatment plant replaced the slow sand filtration technique that began as a pilot project in the 1980s.

A new 250,000 litre filtered water storage tank (distribution tank) was also constructed in the area. The old distribution tank, which was constructed in mid 1960s, was found to have developed cracks on its wall.

Some of the residents, who were affected by the leakage informed the dzongkhag administration and works to construct a new distribution tank began after an investigation found that the old tank had leakages.

With the completion of the new distribution tank and commissioning of the treatment plant, Trashigang dzongdag, Chekey Gyelthsen, said that the residents of the town have been receiving clean and safe drinking water. “The water quality is as good as the bottled mineral water.”

One of the residents, Pema Tshering, said that after the installation of the treatment plant the water quality had improved. “However, there are frequent water shortage in the town because of leakage along the distribution pipelines,” he said. “We hope this problem would also be solved once the new pipes are fitted.”

Meanwhile, officials said similar projects would also be carried out in Sarpang and Samdrupjongkhar with support from ADB.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang