English | Dzongkha Sunday, April 11, 2021

People in Tsakaling village rely on private water sources for drinking water, Tsirang

Mar 2, 2021

The country still has many communities where access to safe and reliable drinking water is still a prevailing issue. One such is Tsakaling village under Patshaling Gewog in Tsirang. Every household in Tsakaling has a water tap constructed in front of their house but without running water. Some 20 households are still waiting for a drinking water supply.

The existing water source, which is located around a kilometre from the community, has enough water to cater to the needs of some 60 residents. However, the residents say, the old tank leaks and the exposed water pipes are damaged.

Chengala, a farmer in Tsakaling says it has been around six years since the drinking water supply in the village had been disconnected. He said, ” We had to look for private water supplies. Some of us have sourced water supply from this stream and some have drawn from another stream by availing a loan. But often we land up quarrelling among ourselves since the water source is small.”

Like Chengala, many individuals brought water from nearby streams.

Sonam Gyelmo, a resident in Tsakaling said, “I connected water from one of the streams but it is not sufficient since my neighbours are also using the same water source. I can’t wash my clothes since I have to prioritise water for irrigating vegetables and drinking.”

“I have been fetching water from one of my neighbours until a few months back. But it is very difficult since I have a newborn baby. Therefore, I had to look for a private water supply. I availed a loan of Nu 30,000 to buy water pipes.” said Tashi Wangmo, another resident.

Villagers complain of not being able to grow vegetables due to water shortages.

“Vegetables grow well here but after the water shortage, I couldn’t grow vegetables. Moreover, cardamom plants are dying now without water. said Choejay Wangmo.

People say that they have proposed for maintenance budget to the gewog administration.

“Local leaders refused for maintenance budget reasoning the gewog will connect with a new water supply. Few years have been passed but they didn’t either start works or approved the maintenance budget,” said Chengala.

Kinzang Namgay, a villager said that the gewog administration had provided water pipes allocated for the water supply project to other chiwogs.  “We couldn’t even connect water from the source to the main reservoir tank with the water pipes distributed by the gewog. We have submitted detailed water pipe requirements to the gewog but local leaders have failed to provide us with enough water pipes,” he added.

However, Patshaling’s gup Chabi Kumar Rai said the gewog administration could not approve the water maintenance budget after the Gewog Yargay Tshogde did not approve the proposal.

“Budget approval has to go as per the Gewog Tshogde’s rules and regulations. The GYT members after knowing the community have adequate water supply didn’t support the maintenance budget agenda,” he said.

He also said that the administration had to distribute 500 meters of water pipes to Chhudzomsa and Pangthang chiwogs after a heavy monsoon disrupted the water supply.

He said, “Water supplies in the villages encountered several disruptions. So as per their request, I had to distribute water pipes to the people of two chiwogs since the need was urgent. The decision was made in consultation with the gewog’s technician and Mangmi.”

The gewog administration allocated a budget in the current financial year to provide integrated water supply to the community but the water supply works are incomplete.

Pema Tshewang, Tsirang

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