Nima | Gelephu

With more water sources in the area drying up every year, villagers in Chuzangang, Umling drungkhag are left parched and worried.

More than 400 households residing in the gewog receive drinking water supply only for an hour each in the morning and evening every day.

For some, their turn to store water comes only after a day.

Chuzangang gup, Sangay Tshering, said that supplying sufficient drinking water remained a priority for the gewog administration. “Water sources are drying up and, on the other hand, the number of households is increasing; this situation is worsening,” he said.

The gewog administration, with support from the dzongkhag and government, had explored six different water sources to date and invested more than Nu 30 million trying to secure water sources, according to the gup.

“The existing water sources are at the risk of completely drying up,” said Sangay Tshering.

The gewog stopped exploring new water sources for the past three years.  The officials from the gewog said there was a need for proper study and assessment before developing a new water source for the gewog.

The gewog has identified a source in Taklai Khola and is waiting for an expert team from the works and human settlement ministry for assessment.  It was delayed because of the pandemic.

“We hope the ministry will approve the identified source and help solve the problem at the earliest possible. We couldn’t do anything so far to improve the situation,” said Sangay Tshering.

A villager, Gembo, said that the pipeline at the source is buried under landslides every summer and has to be salvaged in winter. “We have to search for water sources in winter. Water sources need to be properly developed to avoid frequent damages,” he said.

Residents also said that there should be bigger storage tanks in the respective chiwogs. “The existing water storage tanks were built when the community was small,” said Gembo from Thongjibi.

Gup Sangay Tshering said that if they could extract ground water the problem could be solved.

The residents pay up to Nu 600 annually to those monitoring the sources and water storage tanks in the respective chiwogs.

Another villager from Chuzanggang, Jangchu Dorji, said the gewog faced water problems for a long time. “The water supplied on an hourly basis is insufficient. We fetch water from a nearby spring,” he said.

Barthang tshogpa, Kota, said that the chiwog faced severe drinking water problems and the people received water supply on alternate days. “The number of households increases yearly while more water sources are drying up. There is no reliable water source,” he said. 

He added that there were more people in the chiwog and the problem more severe compared to people living in the upper part of the gewog. “We have to strictly manage the water; the supply isn’t enough even for a small vegetable gardening,” said Kota. 

“All required facilities, such as storage tanks, pipeline and water taps, are in place but we get water supply for a few hours only. The government promised 24-hour water supply, but the situation is different here. It’s mainly because the gewog doesn’t have a reliable water source.”