Thromde to take over community water supply

Resource: Judging by the damage it had done to the road, the water had been overflowing for quite sometime. The excess water drains on to the road from a pipe washing debris and gravels along its way. It has eaten away sections of the road, worsening the already created potholes.

Its an eye sore for those both who receive rationed water for drinking and who pays a monthly bill for the service. Water is plenty in this side of the city, in Babesa. It is the same in the core city when there is water. Overflowing tanks, broken pipes that leads to leakage and wastage is a common sight.

Thromde officials call it non-revenue water (NRW). It’s a waste of a valuable resource given some section of the city live on rationed water.

Thromde’s deputy executive engineer with water supply section, Samten Lhendup said that theft or illegal connection of water supply, leakages and absent of water metering contribute to NRW. About 33 percent of city’s water supply is NRW.

On the overflowing water, he said that it could be because the water is supplied by the community and not by the thromde. In such a case, consumers needn’t install water meter or pay tariffs.

However, the thromde has started disconnecting the community water reservoirs in Olakha and Lungtenphu since August this year. Soon the thromde will disconnect all the supplies from community water sources because the water consumers consume from community water sources are not treated.

The thromde will also take over the community water sources and treat it and then supply to consumers.

Samten Lhendup said that while thromde may not be able to completely do away with NRW or water wastage, it can be reduced by constant monitoring of main and distribution water supply lines, maintaining the leaked pipes and having 100 percent water metering.

“Reducing the NRW will prevent money going down the drain,” he said.

It is mandatory that every household have a water meters installed. However, it is difficult to ensure that every water supply is metered as new constructions keeps coming, said the engineer.  Installation of meters is under process.

Since November last year, the thromde has installed water meters in 85 buildings in Olakha and Lungtenphu, and in about 50 buildings in Babesa and Semtokha. About 4,000 households in the city have water meters installed. About 80 percent of Thimphu’s population depends on the thromde’s reservoirs.

The thromde earns more than Nu 1.6M every month from water tariff alone. This could increase by manifold if meters are installed at the earliest. By doing that the thromde could also supply water to places where there are shortages.

“It hurts to see water overflowing day and night when some part of the city gets water only few hours a day,’ said a Changzamtog resident. “Drive down towards Babesa or Semtokha, you will see tanks overflowing everyday,” she said.

Dechen Tshomo