Success Stories

The Water Doctor (Meet the man who keeps water flowing in Lotokuchu Singye Community)

Posted on: January 13th, 2017

When I met Lai Tshering Doya, he’s already in the middle of a repair. He arrived early. Without pausing, he angles his head back and reveals kind eyes from under the brim of his bucket hat. His face doesn’t change, and his hands keep moving. He just gives a silent nod from afar.

This is the man they call “The Water Doctor.”

He’s lean, slow-moving and quiet. And at 46-years-old he doesn’t look like a hero. But to people in Lotokuchu Singye, that’s exactly what he is.


He grew up in a community where dirty water was a part of the past. At the age of six, he was a witness to his village being affected with water borne diseases. In fact this was common in the entire region. This promoted him to promise to bring clean water to change the lives of his family and friends. He kept his promise.

Lai Tshering Doya after improving access to clean water for his family and friends, was determined to bring clean water to other people too.

“In order for me to be where I am, someone had to help me. In turn, I want to help other.”

Farmer, Family man and Local Mr. fix it.

When Samtse Dzongkhag Administration in collaboration with the Foundation gave a plumbing skills training to the interested members of Lotokuchu Jigme, Singye and Wangchuck, three plumbers from each village were encouraged to  register with the Foundation for an advanced course. This course would teach them better water management skills so that  their respective communities would have better water access. Lai Tshering was one of the first to register.

Most of Lai’s days are still spent on farming so that he can provide for his own family. But he is also responsible for constant water supply to all the households in Lotokuchu Singye village, a responsibility he takes very seriously as he knows that many lives are impacted are positively impacted by his service.  The other two plumbers also work hard in ensuring that their village continues to enjoy access to clean water. Similarly the other plumbers provide their services to their respective communities of Lotokuchu Jigme and Wangchuck.

When Lai receives word that there is a breakdown of water supply, or that the water source has been damaged or the faucet broken, he drops everything he’s doing, double checks his tool kit— a few wrenches, a hammer, some rope and walks to the village in need.

“I know that each moment I delay is affecting lives. I have to rush to assist them so that they can have water.”

What it looks like to save the day

When Lai Tshering Doya goes to another village where he’s been called for help, he is greeted with enthusiasm as soon as they see him. His reputation precedes him. The people here know him as “The Water Doctor” because he has never failed to fix one till date.

Keeping the Water Flowing

It’s scary to think about what happens when a water tank or tap breaks especially considering that some of our water projects are located in such remote areas. Would these 85 households in Lotokuchu still have clean water today if not for Lai Tshering Doya?

It is a good reminder that it’s not just about building new infrastructure; it’s about taking care of the ones we’ve already built. This is why we’re proud to be empowering local communities to create heroes like Lai Tshering Doya who keep the waters flowing in rural communities in Samtse Dzongkhag.