English | Dzongkha Saturday, September 21, 2019

Protecting the water source of Damphu town through PES scheme

Namgay Wangchuk, Tsirang
Jul 24, 2019

Beginning this month, the residents of Damphu town in Tsirang will have to pay Nu 3.11 monthly as a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) for the people of Thakhorling and Khuchi-Darachu. This is because the main water source of the town, Pawkhola falls under the community forest of the two chiwogs.

With almost 6,000 households in Damphu town, a total amount of over Nu 200,000 will be handed over annually to the people living in the water source area. It is to compensate the people to maintain a buffer zone with a radius 100 meters around the watershed area, carry out plantation and guard the area against illegal extraction of forest resources.

They will also have to clear the stream every four months and limit their livestock from grazing in the area.

“The committee members have agreed to the deal. It does not mean selling the water it is our payment in providing services to those living downstream,” Dawa Tamang, the Chairperson of  Thakhorling Community Forest, said.

“We have plans to plant tree saplings in that catchment area and fencing it,” Ganesh Sunwar, the Chairperson of Khuchi Community Forest, said.

The PES system deal was signed between the representatives of the two community forest and the Damphu Municipality on July 22.

” The PES is not about paying for the water but it is to protect and preserve the watershed at the source. For that, we need to do lots of activities to protect the natural forest. And this all involves a cost. Till now the government has been providing with financial assistance in maintaining wherever needed. From this system, we can generate revenue to maintain watersheds,” Sigyel Delma, the Chief Forestry Officer of Watershed Management Division, said.

The first pilot PES scheme on drinking water source protection was launched in 2011 in Monggar followed by Paro and Pasakha.

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