Rinchen Zangmo | Tsirang

There has always been water shortage in upper Gangtokha in Barshong, especially in winter, but of late, the shortage has become more acute.

Forty-something households are affected.

Raj Kumar Moktan from Lungkhorma said that the source was about one and a half hours from the village—19kilometres away. “After the scheme was constructed, there was no water shortage problem for about three years. Thereafter, there has always been water shortage.”

Shortage of water has also affected farming activities in the village.

Raj Kumar Moktan said that he managed to grow beans, spinach, and maize this year. He has not been able to grow paddy field for years now.

February and March, he said, were the driest months in the village. “We try to work with what we have. Even drinking water is in short supply.”

The gewog administration received support from International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) for water-harvesting about two years ago.

Hema Maya Tamang, 54, said that it was difficult to manage water for drinking and farming purposes. “Doing away with farming or growing vegetables is not an option for us. We have to work and eat.”

She said that sometimes it goes on for weeks and months without water.

She said that during the rainy season water-harvesting pond made farming activities possible. “However, in winter, it was difficult.”

Phul Maya Tamang, 51, she carried water from lower part of Gangtokha. It takes her hours.

Barshong Gup Santa Lal Powdel said that every year about Nu 200,000 is allocated for water maintenance purposes. Last year, source maintenance it cost almost Nu150,000.

He said that if there was another source, it would almost benefit more than 80 households in the geowg including upper Gangtokha.