24/7 water supply by 2023: Thimphu Thromde’s promise

By 2023 Thimphu city will have 24 hours water supply according to Thimphu Thromde officials.

The new treatment plant, being constructed at Taba, will address much of the shortage being faced is locations such as Chang Jiji, Olakha and Babesa.

The plant has a capacity of 10 million litres a day (MLD) and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The World Bank funded project worth Nu 172.78 million was awarded to East West Construction Co. Pvt and Fine Inc., in March 2017.

The new treatment plant will use the Lamellar Clarifier, Bio-Ball Fiber (BBF) system, which uses a series of inclined plates that provide a large effective settling area for a small footprint. “Lamellae Clarifier can be used in a range of industries including mining and metal fishing as well as to treat groundwater and industrial process water,” a thromde official said.

He said the thromde has always been able to arrange proper distribution of water and most parts of city has piped connection. But in some places, private landlords have installed separate pipes, which is illegal, to ensure continuous supply because municipal supply is inadequate.

Thromde officials said they are also planning to lift community water supply because the water act and regulation, empowers the thromde to do so to address shortages.

According to the regulation, building and house owners are also required to clean its drinking water storage periodically and a health worker or sanitary inspector may conduct frequent monitoring for safety and hygiene.

A thromde official said the government could also apply the graded pricing system followed in other countries. In the graded pricing system the government sets a price for a certain quantity of water a month. If more is consumed, users pay extra. “This method could encourage people to conserve and use water judiciously,” the thromde official said.

He said the water problem in Chang Jiji is inevitable because of lack of proper planning during construction. When construction is almost then owners start looking for sources.

He said that the Annual Performance Agreement and the 12th Five year Plan emphasises water supply as a basic necessity and by the end of the 12th five year plan, in 2023, Thimphu residents will have 24 hours water supply.

“World Bank experts say the next war among neighboring countries and the cities worldwide would be for water and this is the scenario is predicted to take place by 2020. But in reality, the war over water has already started in many countries and Bhutan is no exception,” he said.

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