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The water crisis

Although a bit late, Thimphu ​T​hromde’s move to embrace social media to gather feedback and complaints from its residents is encouraging.

With residents using social media platform to share their grievances and feedback, the thromde has now started a common social media platform for people to interact with the municipality. The platform would perhaps help the thromde understand the priorities of the city’s residents.

The city is today buckling under the problems of drinking water shortage and abundance of garbage, clogged drainage and leaking water supply lines, pothole-ridden roads and scarcity of parking spaces.

Against the lack of such basic necessities, the thromde recently announced that it is carrying out plantation of flowers and trees all over the city to make Thimphu vibrant and beautiful.

The problem is not with the flower plantation frenzy that has caught the thromde’s attention. The thromde’s lack of attention to basic necessities in the city is. Addressing chronic drinking water shortage for the residents would make the city liveable. Unclogging the kilometres of drains that run through the city would extend the short shelf life of the patched up roads and pavements. With drinking water pipes running through the drains, it has become urgent that the residents and thromde work together to clean up the clutter we have all created.

It is the people that make a city or any community vibrant and beautiful. It is their satisfaction with the public services the municipality provides that allows a community to blossom. Not planting flowers in a parched city.

According to the audit authority’s performance report, only 1.53 percent of the population in Thimphu gets 11 to 18 hours of water supply. Twenty-nine percent of the residents get less than two-hours of water a day. When the joint sitting of the parliament deliberated the report yesterday, it was found that the thromde has implemented only one of the 15 recommendations the audit authority made. Despite spending milllions of ngultrums, the state of the drinking water supply scheme today reflects the gross incompetence of the thromde and the agencies that it works with in delivering water services.

It was reported at the Parliament that about Nu 1B was spent in the current Plan to improve water supply. The living standard report shows99.5 percent of households having access to improved water sources but 32.9 percent of the population still prioritised water supply as their main concern. Such contrast is worrying.

The government reported that in the 12th Plan, all projects for drinking water would be taken up as flagship programmes. The prime minister pledged that if PDP were re-elected to implement the 12th Plan, all homes would be provided water 24×7. In a water rich country, providing continuous water to its people has now become a political issue.

Even with the flowers adorning the cities and communities, negligence to provide safe drinking water to the people remains our biggest failure today.

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