Thimphu, like the rest of the places across the country, is synonymous with water scarcity. But there is another issue more concerning than that facing the residents of the capital. With water pipes in some parts of the city being laid along the drains, some residents fear water contamination leading to water-borne diseases.
A bunch of drinking water pipes can be seen in the drain in Changzamtog. According to some of the residents, as the pipes are laid in open drains, there are chances of contamination due to leakages.
And the scenario is almost the same in places like Jungzhina, Pamtsho, Changidaphu and upper Taba.
BBS talked to some of the residents and they said the water causes irritation while bathing. While others are worried that the water might get contaminated.
“If there are any leakages and holes in the pipe, there are high chances that the contaminated water might enter through the pipes which would be very disastrous and there is a high risk of the drinking water getting contaminated. If we drink that water, people are very much susceptible to water-borne diseases like dysentery and diarrhoea,” said Pelden, a resident.
“When the Thromde takes over the water supply, I hope the pipes will be removed from the drains. It is necessary to have a clean water supply. I think it will help reduce the cases of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea,” said Lobzang Dorji, another resident.
Health officials said that this might spread waterborne diseases and is unhygienic. Officials added that the issue was discussed in every stakeholder meeting.
“Some people used to boil and filter the water before drinking it but there are still some people who drink tap water. This is not healthy and can cause water-borne diseases like typhoid, diarrhoea, dysentery and hepatitis. It is important to have preventive measures,” said Karma Wangdi, Program Officer of the Department of Public Health.
But Thimphu Thromde officials said those pipes belong to individuals who depend on the community-managed water source. As per Thromde officials, the water distribution pipes belonging to Thromde are being buried under roads and footpaths. However, Thromde is working on plans to address the issue.
“The pipes lying in the drain are because there are no right ways for the community people to take the pipes. However, Thromde has plans to provide treated water to all the community water consumers. In this process, Thromde has already started to do away with all the existing pipes in drains,” said Penjor Dukpa, an executive Engineer at Thimphu Thromde.
He added that the Thromde has the plan to make District Meter Areas, which will ensure a reservoir each for various Local Area Plans within the city.
Thimphu Thromde in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport is also developing a water infrastructure master plan to provide treated water for all residents of the capital.
Edited by Tshering Zam/Phub Gyem
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