To live in hot places during summer time is a challenge in itself, only to be made worse by water shortage. Such is the unfortunate circumstance faced by the people in Gelephu.
Talking to an owner of a bar and grocery shop, Chey Cheymo, 47, said, “It has been almost two weeks now that we didn’t have a proper water supply.”
She said cleanliness comes with water, and when there is no water supply one cannot maintain the hygiene. She added, “We just dip the glass in the bucket instead of washing it with soap and people have to use the same glass the last person has used. We have no option left.”
She said if there had been a proper water supply then they could wash things properly with soap.
The toilets are also full of filth and stench as there is not enough water for cleaning purpose.
“We just can’t look at our toilet. It has become so stinky,” said Chey Cheymo.
“Sometimes water comes untimely, just for few minutes where we can only manage to fill only a few containers while our clothes remains piled up in the toilet for there is no water to wash it,” she added.
In some parts of Gelephu, the water problem has persisted for almost four months. A resident Doten Norzom, 43, said, “The little amount of water we get for drinking is just not enough, and we have to wash the kid’s school dresses as well.”
She said even the drains in the area are stinking.
While Lhachei, 47, who owns a bar said she has been running her bar without water for three days, and she has been using the water she managed to store three days back. She has made complaints to the city, but only got a response saying there isn’t water at the source.
“This is really going to hamper my business. This is only source of income for us and we have pay rent and tax at the end of day, and now my water containers are all empty,” she said.
A 52-year-old taxi driver Tenzin Wangdi said water problem is everywhere, but some places do get excess water when supplied, and then the water ceases to come for a couple of days, which is again a problem.
“I think there should be set time, which will help save water, by supplying on time so that next time there won’t be water shortage in the tank,” he said.
Talking to the head of engineering service division, Gelephu Thromde, James Lingden said the Thromde is helpless because the water source is dry and due to the dry season, the water table has gone down as well.
Which is why, he said, “We are controlling it by giving the water on a timely basis.”
To address this issue, he said, “We are exploring ground water where testing is done and two bore wells are already successful, but only in next 11th five year plan we have to install pump, reservoir bank, only then can we supply,” he added.
He said, from then on, there won’t be any problem, but for now people must adjust with the water supplied by storing it when supplied. He said for the time being the problem will continue.
“If it rains, then situation will improve,” he added.
He said with many houses, hotels, restaurants, and construction sites that have come up, there is likely to be a shortage of water. In the past, residents in Gelephu said the water was more than enough because of less houses and construction sites.
There are two water sources at Gelephu, at Mao khola and other one at Lodrai which just gives a seasonal supply.
About 4 to 5 water shortage complaints are received by Gelephu Thromde in a day from the people.