Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

Without interventions to solve drinking water shortages for several years, Tsirangtoed residents say that their water woes have further worsened in the past year. 

According to residents, they get water once every three days, making it difficult to maintain cleanliness and sanitation. “It’s become particularly challenging because we require extra cleanliness during the current pandemic,” one said.  

With no new water sources in the gewog, about 180 households in Tsirangtoed are sharing water with the neighbouring gewog Phuentenchhu. Water taps remain dry most of the time, so people have resorted to collecting rainwater in containers for domestic use. 

Tsirangtoed resident Gangaram Sharma, 69, said that because water sources are drying up in Phuentenchhu as well, people have cut off Tsirangtoed’s water pipelines. The local leaders, he said, had to get involved and mediate to solve the disputes over water. “We need a water meter system to resolve the issue.” 

“Most of us have abandoned agricultural land. Without water, it’s too challenging and nothing grows,” said Gangaram Sharma, who claims that in the past, the gewog produced top quality rice. 

Lhakhang caretaker Sonam Tshering said that water scarcity has become acute in recent days, and it will be difficult to conduct events such as rituals and festivals in the community. 

A restaurateur near Tsirangtoed Central School said that he stores water in tanks. 

The shortage has particularly affected 60 households living adjacent to Tsirangtoed Central School.

Tsirangtoed Central School’s principal Yeshi said that the school is managing the water supply to the school with two alternate water lines: an old line from Phuentenchhu, and a new line from Semjong. 

However, he said that during the monsoon season, when the pipes break, the situation worsens.  “But we are managing for now.”

Tsirangtoed Gup Nar Bahdhur Rai acknowledged that water scarcity has been an existing issue in the gewog. However, as part of the Water Flagship Programme-approved project to connect over 180 households to a reliable drinking water supply in the gewog, a survey to locate water sources should be completed within the next three weeks. 

“We plan to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the gup said. 

The water supply project is also expected to benefit residents of the Semjong and Phuentenchhu gewogs.