English | Dzongkha Sunday, April 11, 2021

Residents of Goenpawoong chiwog grappling with water shortage, Pema Gatshel

Apr 7, 2021

Residents of Goenpawoong chiwog under Dechhenling Gewog in Pema Gatshel are grappling with water shortage yet again. A water pump installed below the village in 2019 to address the chiwog’s water woes is not functional today and calls for maintenance.

The situation in Goenpawoong is back to square one- villagers have to carry water on their backs or transport in pick-up trucks. Water taps are running dry for almost a year now since the water pump stopped working. An expert team from the Dungsam Cement Corporation Limited found that several parts of the water pump were damaged.

“People living above the gewog centre are facing severe problem of water shortage. Some of them are fetching water from a pond. As it is winter season, even the pond water is not sufficient for them. Water shortage also led to misunderstanding and conflict within the villagers,” said Samten Tshewang, the Goenpawoong chiwog Tshogpa.

“The elderly people have to walk for around two kilometres and carry water on our backs as we don’t have young people living with us,” added Yeshi Dorji.

For the residents maintaining hygiene especially during the pandemic is a challenge without water.

“As our water pump is not working now, we have to carry water on our backs. So it is difficult for us to maintain hygiene. We cannot wash our hands and feet after coming from work. We don’t have enough water to even wash kitchen utensils,” said Sangay Jamtsho from Dechhenling Gewog.

“Because of the pandemic, we have to keep water to wash hands with soap. We are trying our best, by transporting water in the vehicle. Even so, we face a shortage,” added Dupchen Zangmo.

They are expecting that the water pump will be maintained soon. According to the chiwog tshogpa, the repair works might be delayed due to the pandemic.

“I think it got delayed with two nationwide lockdowns. Upon requesting the gewog administration time and again, the gup told us that the materials have to be imported from Guwahati in India as they are not available here,” said Goenpawoong chiwog tshogpa Samten Tshewang.

The Dechhenling Gewog Administration said they have not been able to fix the water pump as they have to hire experts from high-risk areas.

“We have to repair the meter and have put six additional MCB. We have to change the wires too for which we need around 300 meters of wire. We have a budget of Nu 200,000 and we ordered materials worth Nu 164,000,” said Dechhenling Gup Sonam Rinchen.

He added the installation of equipment for the water pump will be complete within two days and the electrical materials will be reached in the second week of this month.

Once restored, the water pump will benefit more than a hundred households in Goenpawoong chiwog.

Thinley Dorji, Pema Gatshel

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