Neten Dorji | Trashigang

It is wet in Trashigang these days with cyclone Amphan bringing a lot of rain. But Trashigang town is facing an acute shortage of drinking water.

Residents of the small, congested town have been struggling with acute shortage of drinking water for more than a week. Hoteliers resorted to ferrying water from neighbours while residents harvest rainwater for daily use.

“It has been more than one month since we didn’t get enough water,” said restaurant owner, Duthop Wangmo.  At her restaurant, she had stored rainwater in every container available.

Another, restaurant owner, Wangchuk has harvested rainwater for three days. “Water shortage is worst this time. We didn’t face much water problem like in the past,” he said.

Residents and hoteliers claim that the shortage has worsened after the old pipeline was replaced by new pipeline. “We didn’t face much water problem in the past. It started after old pipelines was replaced,” said a resident.

Without enough water, some hoteliers said they have to close down business if the water shortage continues.

Some hoteliers water shortage is hampering the government’s effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “The advice is to often wash hands with soap and water. Without water, how can we tell customers to wash their hands when they visit us. The customers also complaining about water.”

Residents said that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

Trashigang town representative, Thinley Namgay said that he gets a minimum of four complaints a day with people sometimes calling at night. “Most of the residents accused me of not taking actions. I also noticed that the water shortage has become a serious problem to those who run hotel and restaurants,” he said.

Meanwhile, municipal incharge, Jigme Jamtsho clarified that it is not the new pipeline that gave water problem to the town. “Water is not sufficient from the source. We were doing our best to supply sufficient water to the town.”

He said they notified the public that there will be water shortage and asked people to store more water. “To solve water shortage problem in the town, our technical officials are working round the clock at water sources,” he said.

Officials said that there is also reduction of incoming supply from source due to continuous rainfall for the last few days and pipe at source is frequently washed away by floods.