Thimphu residents wonder about the 24/7 water supply promised to them

Drinking water shortage still persists in many parts of Thimphu despite a project worth Nu 400 million (mn), funded by the World Bank, to augment the existing water supply system in Thimphu.

Thimphu residents were assured of a 24-hour water supply, but that is not the case. Many of the Thimphu residents that spoke to this paper say that Thimphu Thromde should first resolve the issue of water shortage before going forward with any other new development projects.

Sangay Penjor, 58, has been living in Thimphu for 30 years now, said the water issue still persists in the town despite the construction of the Dodena water treatment plant.

“Forget about other days, during the second lockdown relaxation, we went for four days without any water, particularly in Tsalumaphay and Tsalu Barp in Babesa,” he said.

He further added, “In Thimphu water scarcity is a normal occurrence. And another thing that needs to be addressed is the existing drainage system that is in a bad state. We would like to request the next elected Thrompon to address these pertinent issues in the city.”

A resident in Motithang, Tandin Bidha, 30, said although a lot has been done for the core city area, however, the current issues, like water shortage, needs to be addressed.

“We are thankful to the Thromde for coming up with water treatment plants, however, there are still water issues. First, there must be a solution to the water problem and then to other thromde services. We are hoping for improved water supply with a new mayor,” she said.

Another resident in Motithang, Damchoe, 31, said she faces regular water problems at home, and the people living in higher floors in her building have to pump the water upstairs.

“Water scarcity isn’t a new problem for us. We’ve been dealing with it for quite some time. And I’ve seen my neighbors complain about the water crisis, but they (Thromde) have turned a deaf ear to us,” she said, adding that she only gets a periodic water supply in her apartment thrice a week.

Sonam Tshering, 27, residing in Taba, said that he faces water shortage in his area.

“We don’t always have an access to water,” he said.

A resident in Babesa, Karma Eden, has been facing water shortage in her home for a while now.

She said, “I am not sure whether the water we get comes from the city or from a private source, so water comes only during the evening for just one hour. It is not convenient for us to follow the timing, and if we don’t arrive on time then we don’t get any water.”

She added that there is no water for up to three days, and so they have to store water in containers to use sparingly during the days withouth water.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated a budget of Nu 3 bn for the water flagship program. Through the program, the government aims to ensure drinking and irrigation water across the country by the end of the 12th Five-Year-Plan. 

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