Dagana’s thirsty residents and their new hope

The government has allocated more than Nu 100 million to address a dire shortage of water that has tormented, for many years, several gewogs in the south central district of Dagana and will involve laying 28 kilometres of pipelines and related infrastructure.

The project is expected to start in the next few months with design and drawings completed and tendering on the anvil. The project will be implemented in Tshendagang gewog, which has the most severe shortage, and will also benefit Tashiding, Goshi and Gayserling gewogs that also suffer water shortages said Dagana dzongkhag’s planning officer, Yeshi Pelzang.

Drying sources was the main challenge said Yeshi Pelzang.  “Our worry is drying of water sources and if it does happen than this huge water supply project might fail, otherwise it will address water issue in the gewogs with major problems,” he said.

Lhawang Dorji, chairperson of Dagana’s Dzongkhag Tshogdue, said Dagana town’s water woes were discussed during Mid-Term Review (MTR) and the dzongkhag administration somehow managed to solve the issue but not completely. He said that a study had indicated that water shortage in the gewogs was due to increase in population and drying of sources.

However, he said, water shortage was also due to the joint of a pipes coming apart, which was laid by the private contractor before MTR. “We are not sure of the reason behind the blast but it can be technical failure or might be due to pressure”, he added.

He also said that, if they can do all the major water pipe renovations in the 12 FYP, then, the water issue in Dagana town, Dzongkhag and Dratshang can be solved. In addition, they are also discussing about source extension, upgrading tanks and water pipe maintenance in every gewog.

In Dagapela; Goshi, Tshedagang and Tashiding are the gewogs who have a major water crisis and after much discussion, the government is working to reach  water from Lingmichu under Khana gewog to those gewogs.

He said that, ministry awarded a work of a mule track construction for 22 KM to a private contractor who started the work from 24 April. “I heard that they have kept Nu 5 mn for the work”, he added.

However, he said that, they doubt how successful the work will be as with past-experience in Dagana town showed it was difficult to monitor the old 15 KM pipe with it coming apart in places. “It might be difficult for a 22 KM length pipeline but if it turns to be a successful one, than the water issue in Dagapela will be addressed,” he added.

He said, “People started planting tree saplings around their house with a hope prevent the water from drying-up and I hope it will help and have a positive impact”, he said.

Gup Tandin of Goshi gewog said Goshi Toed and lower Baleggang are the two chiwogs with serious water issues. Every household in the chiwog has water taps but flow was limited and not sufficient.

He said the gewog provided them with pipes to tap alternative sources and store in a tank. “They have constructed a water tank and each tank has 30 to 40 users,” Gup Tandin said. “To keep water sources alive people are planting more tree saplings and fencing the existing sources.”

Dorona Gup Suk Raj Rai said Sushithang village has a major water problem because of which six of 10 households moved to another chiwog.

“In 2008 we proposed to the dzongkhag and the National Land Commission the households move to another area in the gewog but wedid not get any response,” Gup Suk Raj Rai said. “But water supply to schools in this gewog is more than sufficient as they are given priority.”

Meanwhile, Wangdi, a Drungchen of Dagana Dratshang, said the Shathang Goenpa Drubday is one meditation centre, with 7 to 8 monks, that does not have sufficient water. “They adjust with what they get,” he said. “There is Choepangkha Drupchu (holy water) and the government could build a tank to benefit those in meditation.”

Sonam, a farmer from Goshi gewog, said they make their living through farming but there is insufficient water for farming. “The local government did a lot to make water available which is sufficient for household chores but not sufficient for farming,” said Sonam.


The story was possible due to support from the Department of Information and Media

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