Finding safe drinking water is one of the biggest challenges faced by rural communities, apart from the lack of irrigation water, human wildlife conflict, farm labour shortage and access to market.
Such challenges have hindered the pace of gaining food-sufficiency, nutritional improvement and the income generation capacity of the farmers. The scope of commercial farming is significantly lowered by such problems as well.
The farmers of Lokchina, Sampheling and Darla geogs under Chukha shared their grievances on acute shortage of drinking and irrigation water to the Agriculture Minister, Yeshey Dorji.
More than 2,000 households living in the three gewogs have been facing acute water shortage for a long time now. A few farmers depend on rain water as their water sources have dried up.
According to the Lokchina Gup, Indral Lal Galley, the farmers do not have any water source nearby and they need to travel about 16 to 17 kilometers to get clean drinking water. He added that fetching water, both for household chores and farming, is very hard to manage, especially during the winter.
He said that water problem in the three communities are often serious, affecting crop production. The area also sees water conflict from time to time. In absence of irrigation facilities, the farmers depended mostly on rainfall, which over the years has also become erratic, making the situation worse.
The farmers in the three gewogs grow oranges, paddy, cardamom, etc. The insufficient water supply for farming has hampered the potential of growing cash crops on a large scale.
The government is expected to allocate more budget to address the drinking and irrigation water supply shortage in both rural and urban area. Shortage of drinking water and irrigation water has been reported in almost all parts of the country. Poor quality construction, improper maintenance of rural water schemes, poor planning and monitoring of water sources are some of the reasons for such water shortage.