Addressing Thimphu’s water woes

A resident in Changjiji, Thimphu, Tshering Dema, has been facing water shortage in her home for quite some time now. She said that the water supply comes only once or twice in a month. And when the water does flow in through the taps, it comes only in trickles. “We drink stored water that we fetch from Olakha, twice a day, by taxi.”

She is not alone in her water woes as most residents in Thimphu are also facing erratic water supply in their homes. A resident in Changzamtog, Suklal, said he receives the water supply only during the daytime when he is not home. “Water comes only during morning and evening. It is not convenient with the timing and water is just stored in tanks.”

Another resident in Changzamtog, Tashi, said he has been without water for three weeks now. “We are taking water from expatriate workers, and I am sending my sister to wash our clothes at Olakha.” A resident in Motithang, Mongali Tamang said he faces water problems, especially during the weekends. “Maybe because most of the people use water for washing clothes then,” he added.

Tobgay, who recently came to Thimphu, said although the water Thimphu water supply pipes supply at the ground floor of the building is good, however, it is the people residing in the attic space that complain of water shortage. “I see them with frustrated faces,” he said.

Tshering Duba, who lives with his parents, said they get the water supply in the mornings and evenings. But he has no complaints. “Being a small family, we do not have any problem.” Meanwhile, there are some households in Thimphu that do not face water shortage due to having good water sources. “We do not have water shortage, water here is continuous for we have a different source,” a resident in Motithang, Dema Yangzom, said.

According to Thimphu Thromde, the only problematic areas with water shortage in Changzamtog are near the school. However, Thromde has plans Photo couresy:tripwow.tripadvisor.com to draw water from underground water wells near the flyover bridge to serve the areas. At the moment, the underground wells near the flyover bridge supply water to some parts of Changzamtog, like Tshendenshing area, old call centre and parts of Changbangdu.

Kawajangsa, Yangchenphug, upper and lower Motithang areas, Changbangdu and Changzamtog get their water supply from the water source at Kuengacholing. Hejo, Changjiji, Dzong area, Langjophakha and core town area are served by the Jungshina source.

According to Thimphu Thromde, Nu 5 million is spent annually for operation and maintenance of water supply in Thimphu. In order to improve the water supply system and provide a continuous water flow, Thromde took over the operation and maintenance of the South and North Thimphu water supply from Asian Development Bank (ADB) last year.

An official with department of water supply and sewerage, Thimphu Thromde, Samten Lhendup, said that the present water sources connected to the Changjiji area is to be disconnected. Instead the area will receive the community water supply that is also used in Lungtenphu and Olakha.

“Asian Development Bank water supply scheme is in place, billing works have been started and then it is to be connected to the reservoir above Changjiji and Olakha highway, which will solve almost 90 percent of the water shortage in Changjiji area,” he added.

Under the small development project that is additionally funded by the Government of India, Thromde will bring water supply to Kawajangsa from the Jungshina water treatment plant. So far, the pipelining and testing of galvanized iron are complete, and it will be operational by next month.

Thromde has identified five main sources like, Kuengacholing, Jungshina, Megai Pang, underground water near flyover bridge and Dechencholing, for the whole of Thimphu. As of now, Thimphu has four treatment plants and more than twenty reservoir tanks with various carrying capacities.

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