Tshering Namgyal | Lhuentse

The DeSuung water project in Zham village of Minjey gewog, Lhuentse, which was scheduled to complete four months ago, would complete in two months.

Launched in August 2021, the project was initially targeted to complete in six months, but it delayed due to the pandemic, maintenance of the approach road followed by frequent breakdown of machines at the site.

With the tractor road size formation cutting of 5.7 kilometres of 6km length from the source to the main outlet near the community temple completed, project officials said about 75 percent of the work has been progressed as of now.

Officials said only about 200 to 300 metres towards the source, which is mostly cliff, is left.

“As of date, the construction of end chamber and 3.8km pipe joining has been completed,” an official said. “Pipe laying in 4.2km stretch is done. All pipes are shifted halfway of the stretch for laying.”

However, intake reservoir construction will be possible only after the formation cutting reaches the source.

Officials said the pipe joining work was stalled after the generator got broke down. “We are yet to get a new one,” an official said. “We are following up with the supplier.”

Officials said they would finish the work in two months if monsoon favours. There are 29 deSuups in the field today although there are 84 when it first commenced.

Meanwhile, the project would cater water from Longorchu stream that runs via Gulibi between Zham and Tongling villages.

The project is expected to benefit 42 households by irrigating nearly 400 acres of arable dry land and wetland in the village which remained fallow because of lack of irrigation water.

Farmers of Zham are happy that the ongoing irrigation water project would complete soon.

A farmer with the highest land holding in the village, Kelzangla, said he is planning to cultivate paddy in all nine acres of field once the water is connected.

“As of now, we depend on rainwater to supplement the existing small stream and could cultivate only half of the paddy field,” he said.

He said the small irrigation water from Amdrangchu which was serving the purpose in the olden days for few households in farming was not sufficient with increasing population over the years.

“We are in dire need of water and we are grateful to His Majesty The King and the government.”

Kezangla said his family could also sell about 800 dre of rice and generate income once water reach the field.

Amdrangchhu-Zham tshogpa, Thinley Gyatsho, said residents faced acute shortage of irrigation water problem and farmers fight and quarrel for water during cultivation season.

He said farmers guard their fields at night and they had to introduce a lucky dip system. “But this is unfair for those who get their turn last because by the time their turn comes, some seedlings also die and hamper the production.”

According to the tshogpa, the water project would help farmers carry out cultivation on time.

Minjey gup, Jigme Tenzin Zangpo, said although 80 percent of land in Zham village is wetland, about 40 percent was left fallow due to water shortage. “The water project would benefit them immensely.”

The 32M worth project is being implemented by the government in collaboration with armed forces and DeSuups. After completion, the beneficiaries will take care of its operation and minor maintenance.