The five gewogs of Goshi, Gesarling, Nichula, Tashiding and Tshendagang under Dagana are suffering from acute drinking water shortages. They also do not have enough water for their cardamom plants, a main source of income, which needs plenty of water supply and shade.
It has been more than four months that Goshi gewog is running short of drinking water. The people have to fetch water from an old water source located more than two kilometers away from most of the households.
45-year-old Om Badhur Kamar from upper Goshi said, “Since the small spring water is unable to serve our needs, we have to fetch water from the old source which is not very hygienic.” He further added that the water shortage is getting worse every year. “We are worried about a future without water.”
Another villager, 65-year-old Dhal Bir said, “Most of the farmers are abandoning their wetlands due to water shortage. Apart from farm and vegetation, it’s also impacting us in the case of hygiene issues, where health is a first priority.”
Goshi Gewog Gup, Prem Kumar Dahal, said, “The main water shortage problem is faced by upper Goshi with more than 9 households. We found that the main water source from Tshendagang gewog has dried up and we are left with limited water.” However, he is hopeful abundant rainfall will take care of the water required for farming.
He also said there are no other alternatives to resolve the water shortage permanently other than to find a reliable water source that, he said, would be a huge financial burden on the government.
Tashiding gewog Mangmi, Mon Bahadhur Nesor said that the main source of water is from Amphi Khola which is shared by three regions, Shamdolay, Nichula and Tashiding gewogs. He said, “The tanks were built and pipes were issued by the government, but it’s of no use since the water is dried from the source itself.”
According to him, it has been about a decade since the water shortage problem started. He said, “Before facilitating each household with individual water taps it wasn’t much of an issue as water was shared among 5 to 6 households, but now the problem is faced in almost all the households after giving them individual taps.”
He pointed out that the water shortage is the main reason for the drop in the production of vegetable and cardamom yield in the past few years. Similarly, Gesarling gewog Gup Mani Kumar Ghishing, said that it has been almost three years since the gewog has had to deal with water shortages due to the dried up water source, located in Tashithang.
Tshendagang gewog Mangmi, Purna Singh Waiba, said, “The main cause of water shortage has not been found, but it probably could be due to climate change.”
Meanwhile, Dagana is not the only case as even the capital has been gripped with a series of water shortage issues. Many people taping into private springs have been left high and dry after their sources have dried up. One such example is in Zilukha. Other parts of Thimphu and Bhutan are also facing growing water shortages this summer.