Drupchhugang villagers endure five-year water crisis, Samdrup Jongkhar

In Samdrup Jongkhar, villagers of Drupchhugang in Phuentshothang Gewog, have faced a severe drinking water crisis for over five years, significantly impacting their daily lives, agriculture, and livestock activities. Phuentshogthang Gewog Administration has been maintaining the village’s water supply system but villagers argue that these efforts are futile as the old water source has dried up.

The water shortage forces the community to struggle for access to clean and safe drinking water.

The gewog office is spending about Nu 400,000 to maintain the water supply system of Drupchugang village.

“Forget about doing agricultural work here, we do not get water for drinking. Maintaining the water supply system from the old source will not solve the problem, we need a new water source,” said Om Bhadur Rai, a villager of Drupchhugang.

Despite the administration’s efforts, the villagers remain skeptical.

“Gewog has provided us with bigger pipes. But even with bigger pipes, it will not solve the problem. We need a new source. There is one source, we tried to bring water from there but we could not as other villages were not willing to give,” said Aita Singh Limboo, another villager.

The situation has forced villagers to adopt extreme measures to share limited water supplies.

“When a neighbour uses the water we do not receive water. When I need water my neighbour has to close the tap. We use water like this, and it is difficult to maintain hygiene. Even if we grow vegetables, it does not go well,” said Maita Rani Subba, also a villager.

The gewog office said that the ongoing maintenance work, including the construction of a new 6,000-litre capacity water reservoir tank, will resolve about 75 per cent of the water problem.

The old reservoir had a capacity of only 2,000 litres.

Phuentshothang gup said that efforts to source water from a new location were hampered by the village’s higher elevation. Therefore, the gewog decided to maintain the current supply instead.

Additionally, the gewog office plans to undertake activities to protect and revive water sources.

The current maintenance work is expected to be completed within a few weeks.

Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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