Gumkarmo chiwog in Punakha has been facing shortage of drinking and irrigation water for over a decade.

There are 46 households in the chiwog.

Dechen Zam, 54, said there has been water shortage for as long as she can remember. “The people always depended on the two spring water sources.”

Karma Dema, 35, said the water source frequently dries leaving the villagers without water for almost a week at times. “Then we have to fetch the water from another spring water source. We have to go to the river to wash our cloths.”

The dzongkhag administration had tried bringing water from Shengana and Tongona sources.

While the water had reached about 26 households of the chiwog, it is yet to reach the remaining 20 households.

Lingmukha’s Mangup Kinley Wangdi said that the source at Shengana is about 18km away from the village. The Tongona source is about 2 hours away. “The water source at Tongona is really small. And Shengana is very far so the water is lost on the way. When the water is cut off, it takes about 10 days to fix.”

The irrigation water is brought from a source in Shengana located about 13km away from the village.

During paddy cultivation, the villagers go to the sources to bring water. “And for those without men, we have to pay Nu 500 for those securing the water sources,” Karma Dema said.

Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha