The government has decided to come up with a ‘Commission’ to deal with the growing problem of drying water sources and shortages in the country.
“The government has spent a lot of resources on drinking and irrigation water but because of climate change and definitely due to development of infrastructure like roads and farm roads the water sources are drying up,” said Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay.
The PM said that the government has decided to tackle the issue head on at a national level.
In this context the government asked experts to give a proposal who recommended setting up a ‘Water and Sanitation’ Department under the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.
“The cabinet discussed the issues and felt it is not enough and since water is such a cross cutting issue we decided we need to have a Commission which in the long term could even become a ministry,” said the PM.
The PM said the Commission would be empowered to formulate policies and implement water supply schemes and to ensure that every village and town has 24 by 7 water supply for both drinking and irrigation.
Lyonchhen said Bhutan currently has the sixth highest per capita of fresh water resources in the world which is why one does not have to travel far to hear the sound of water. He said that Thimphu itself has around 12 major tributaries entering the river.
Commenting on the chaotic state of water connections the PM said that on trekking trails one can see huge amount of pipes tapping water and this was the same case throughout the country.
“We need to work and collaborate to ensure water is tapped, maintained well, looked after well and we also need to explore bore wells and also ensure that they are replenished in an environment friendly manner. Rajasthan and Gujarat have ensured that their water tables have in fact risen,” said the PM.
“The cabinet has decided to form a committee to study all the laws and see which laws need to be amended or enacted to empower the Water Commission to fulfill the very important mandate of managing water resources for forests, hydropower, agriculture and most importantly for drinking,” said the PM.
Lyonchhen said that government is spending way too much money and is still facing water shortages. He said the government is extremely concerned.