English | Dzongkha Saturday, May 30, 2020

“We might need to forage the forest to find food like our ancestors…” water shortage in Ngawang Dramtoe

Apr 9, 2020

“We were told to wash our hands regularly with soap to prevent getting infected with the coronavirus. But we have a water shortage here. The new water pipes which are said to be coming haven’t reached here yet. How are we to maintain proper sanitation without water?”

Asked Tshewang Dema Doya, from Ngawang Dramtoe under Tading Gewog in Samtse. But that is the least of worries since residents fear that the water shortages might lead to starvation as they haven’t done any farming waiting for the promised water supply to reach their village.

“With this coronavirus, I think we might need to forage the forest to find food like our ancestors did. We are afraid of the virus. Without water, we can’t grow anything in our lands here. We know there are plant species in the wild, which our ancestors used to eat. If worst comes, that might be our last resort,” said Jamtsho Doya, a farmer in Ngawang Dramtoe.

Water pipes in Ngawang Dramtoe runs dry in most households, and at times it goes without water for days. The single water source is not enough to cater to over 130 households in the village.

The gewog had promised water pipes to channel water from another source some nine months ago. Paths for water pipeline was cleared last summer but the pipes never came.

Nubchay Doya, a plumber in the village said that locals pooled in labourers last summer to construct a pathway for the pipeline. “We were told to complete the works within a month because the pipes from the gewog will be delivered soon. All 130 households contributed to the works. 10 months on and we still don’t have the pipes,” he said.

The villagers say if the pipes are not coming at all, they need to be paid a day’s minimum wage for all the work they have done last summer.

The Tading gup says, gewog administration has tendered out the works some five months ago but the supplier has yet to deliver the water pipes. The gup added that the gewog has a budget to carry out the water supply work. But with the current situation with COVID-19, it is not sure when the residents will get their additional water pipeline.

Sherub Dorji

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