Residents of Tshaphel in Haa, who faced scarcity of drinking water welcomed the inauguration of De-suung National Water Service Project on June 15.

Sixty desuups will work on the project for three months to construct a water intake structure, two reservoirs, connect 3km transmission pipe, 2.5km distribution line and 11 water taps.

Once completed, the Nu 5 million project will benefit about 511 residents, according to project officials.

The water project is one of the activities under the water flagship programme and is implemented in partnership with the De-suung office.

Tshaphel chiwog residents have been grappling with insufficient and inconsistent drinking water for a long time. 

Ap Changtu and family, who own three houses near Tshaphel Lower Secondary School in Haa faces difficulty in finding tenants because of drinking water shortage. The family members are hopeful the project would solve their water woes.

A resident, Kelzang Namgay, said there used to be sufficient water in the past, but as children moved out and constructed their own home, the limited water had to be shared.

He said residents stored water every night during monsoon, as supply became inconsistent.

Another resident, who constructed a new building to rent it to teachers, said many refused to stay due to water scarcity. “It is affecting the income after investing a huge amount in building the house.”

The project would also benefit Tshaphel Lower Secondary School after it is upgraded to middle school soon. 

The vice principal of the school, Sonam Choden, said the existing water source was sufficient only for the lower secondary school. 

She said that the middle school would house new infrastructures such as a six-unit classroom, two 100 bedded hostels and a laboratory that would require sufficient water. “The school provides breakfast and lunch to all students and provides boarding facilities to classes XI and XII.”

The existing water source of the school is located near a pastureland, which blocks the pipe during monsoon.

She said that the supporting staff had to clear the blockage now and then. “The source is an hour walk from the highway. And the storage tank is in dire need of maintenance.”

The school has 388 students and 143 availing boarding facilities. 

Sonam Choden said that the water project would immensely benefit the school and students, especially during the pandemic. 

Uesu mangmi, Ugyen Chungwa, said the water problem was due to improper planning in the past.

He said that the planners did not study the feasibility of water sources. “There was no survey and research to study the potential of water projects, resulting in the failure.”

He cited examples of how water pipes run underneath some houses and people have to fetch water like in the olden days. 

The mangmi also said the scarcity was mainly due to the increasing infrastructure and population in the chiwog. “There were only 17 households earlier. It increased to 47 within a short span of time.”

He said that the locals were grateful to His Majesty the King for the priceless gift.

By Phub Dem | Haa 

Edited  by Tashi Dema