Bhutan: Flagship programme to address Kengkhar’s perennial water problem


Residents of Kengkhar gewog in Mongar have been facing acute water shortages for ages, mainly because settlements are perched on slopes while water sources are located in the valleys below.

After the mega water project to bring water from Larjab, about 30 kilometres away that began at around 2006 failed, spring water from Sepnari has been the lifeline for 78 households of the three chiwogs of Phosothang-Shingchongri, Doktang-Murung, and Oloki-Tsalibi.

Water pumped from it and stored at the reservoir tank at Dungkarling has also been catering to government institutions.

The gewog is also facing issues paying electricity bills as there was no separate budget allotted for pumping bills. The gewog raised the issue in the recent dzongkhag tshogdu.

Kengkhar gup Pema Chedup said although the bill payment has been managed from the gewog budget so far, there has been an audit objection because of no separate budget head for water pumping bills.

“The gewog paid the bill since the first local government’s tenure,” he said.

However, the perennial water issue is expected to address through a water flagship project.

The gewog has identified two sources for pumping and catering to the villages with serious water issue. Water from Sungkari to Shajula through nine pumping stations is expected to benefit 30 households of Shajula village, who have been depending on rainwater harvest.

Similarly, there is plan to construct a separate tank at Sepnari to provide water to Dungkar goenpa via Dompoktor through two pumping stations to supply water to the central school and other institutions.

The school has 500 students.

Gup Pema Chedup said they explored sources in the ridges and mountain for weeks but could not locate a single source. “There is no alternative than to pump water.”

A Kengkhar resident, Chimi, said the water flagship programme would benefit them immensely.