With the temperature in the capital hitting as low as -7 degrees in the last few days, the city is faced with a severe water crisis due to freezing and icing of water pipes resulting in pipes bursting.
According to the Thromde’s principal engineer, Nathel Drukpa, households located at a higher elevation towards the north like Dechencholing, Taba and the upper Mothithang areas, Changangkha, Changbangdu Changidhaphu and even Babesa are badly hit with water shortages due to the freezing temperatures.
“Icing occurs when the pipes are exposed to the freezing temperatures and we have been trying to create awareness to the general public to insulate their pipelines as far as possible. From our side, we are doing our bit by burying the bare pipelines as far as possible but we cannot do that all around the capital,” said Nathel Drukpa.
The problem is not only with private pipes of buildings bursting but also the Thromdes supply pipes bursting and getting blocked. The problem started from around 29th December and started getting progressively worse.
As an interim measure the Thimphu Thromde has requested water tankers from the Phuentsholing Thromde to supply water in areas facing severe water shortages to meet the basic water needs of the households. “Although freezing and icing due to drop in temperature occurs every year, the city hasn’t been as affected in the past years as is the situation right now,” said the principal engineer.
According to a study, letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. It’s not that a small flow of water prevents freezing; this helps, but water can freeze even with a slow flow. Rather, opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs.