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For want of an irrigation channel

Feb 7 2011

Shortage of irrigation water is affecting the paddy yield in the village of Tamidamchu in Punakha.

The village has 20 families and about 200 acres of paddy fields. The fields are fertile, and the altitude and climate conditions are favourable for paddy cultivation. But water for irrigating the fields is scanty. The farmers depend largely on the Monsoon which is late sometimes and inadequate at other times.

The villagers share two small water sources, taking turns to irrigate their fields, racing against time to complete the important job of transplanting paddy on time.

Dophu Dem, a villager, said “we start paddy transplantation by the 4th month (Bhutanese calendar) but because we have to share the water which is scarce, even by the end of the 6th month we cannot complete the work. The share of water we get is not enough. It is affecting the yield.”

The villagers have identified a bigger water source but it is quite far from the village. They don’t have the financial resource to construct an irrigation channel to bring the water to their paddy fields.

Phub Dorji, the village tshogpa, said “we informed the government. They said it is possible to get funds if the water source is within three kilometers from the village. The water source we have identified is about six kilometers from the village.”

“The government said they did not have enough fund and that the work will be carried out within the next two years.”

According to the Mangmi, the existing irrigation channel has been renovated once. If possible, it will be repaired again within the current five year plan. If that is not possible, the problem will be addressed in the next five year plan.

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