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The source

Last few months have been a real test of patience and humility for many residents of Motithang in Thimphu as they struggled with limited or no water. Some tenants were seen carrying water in various jerrycans from the neighboring apartments.

Our people are helpful that way. Some tenants had to keep their big buckets and cans outside to collect rainwater for all their bathroom needs. Most residents kept quiet and went about their normal businesses. Water supply is still is erratic and people wonder when life would be back to normal again. 

Some house owners complained about the issue to the concerned authorities. They were made to understand the shortage is from the source. And to their surprise, officials were saying that the water source is gradually drying up and that supply would never be consistent, hereafter. That worried tenants. I am sure house owners panicked. 

"We had no water problem for as long as we remember; it's only after some new in-charge took over that the problem has surfaced." I cannot authenticate the claim, but people certainly have the right to express their doubts. 

It's funny though. You see, no two buildings (located just right next to each other) face the same issue. And that makes us suspect that there more than one source. Otherwise, how can one building have water and not in the other? Wait, this get more interesting. Realizing this inconsistencies, an affected house owner calls the person in-charge. He gets the same response - the problem is from the source. But he has done his homework and found out it was only in his building that there was no water while others have no problem. Only then the in-charge agrees to "find out". That night water flows again. 

Water is essential. It's a basic human need. In fact, the section 5(c) of The Water Act of Bhutan, 2011, says, "Every individual shall have access to safe, affordable and sufficient water for basic human needs." Therefore, shortage is not an an excuse. How can we solve the issue? How carefully do we manage this precious resource? Are our people informed on the sustainable use of water? 

How do we then ensure consistent water supply to all residents? While having private players is one possible options, in another post I suggest adopting a system whereby we can pump up river water to be stored in huge reservoirs strategically placed and then redistributing from there to the households. Such water can be used to wash clothes, flush toilets and clean our houses. That way we reduce the burden on the already limited resource. 

And rainwater go untapped, too. 

(Pictures by Dorji Wangchuk)


  1. Like we often joked, the world would laugh at us if we say we have water problem, while letting fresh water river flow down to India just like that.
    But I think the mega project is almost completing. Somewhere in Chari a big dam is said to be done to solve all the water problem for once for all.

    1. Hopefully, that would solve all our woes. But again that will depend so much on well we manage it. It is human tendency to overlook its importance when something is in abundance. The authorities should strongly implement The Water Act and make our resources more sustainable than the way we currently manage them.


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