Water Harvesting, storage and distribution system in rural areas in response to water scarcity for drinking and agriculture purpose
Although Bhutan is blessed with rich water resources with the highest per capita of freshwater availability in the region at 109,000 cubic meters; there are water shortages due to communities being located on the mountain sides while major perennial water sources are located in the gorges, seasonal dry winters and increasing incidences of springs drying up. During the recent Mid-term review exercise of the Government, almost every Dzongkhag highlighted the issue of drying out of water sources and the need to tap into alternate water resources such as groundwater, rainwater etc. in the face of the impending climate change.
The poor communities are the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change. Safe drinking water and water for irrigation purpose often determine the health and economic wellbeing of rural communities. Food production is significantly lower where there is no irrigation water, thereby driving those communities into poverty. In order to address this issue, rainwater harvesting techniques (RWHTs) will be disseminated in several pilot communities in Lotokuchu Jigme, Lotokuchu Singye, Lotokuchu Wangchuck and Lumbey rural villages in Dophuchen Gewog under Samtse Dzongkhags. The target communities have been facing water shortage for domestic and agricultural purposes due to drying up of water sources and erratic rainfall during the last few years. This has had negative effect on their food production and has increased drudgery, as the community members in some instances have to walk more than an hour to fetch water for their domestic purposes. The proposed initiative apart from imparting knowledge and skills in rainwater harvesting technologies will enable these rural communities to better their food production and allow them to utilize their time in gainful activities.
The objectives of this project are:
- Development of a water resource inventory and assessment of drying water sources
- To provide safe and adequate drinking water supply throughout the year by installation of rain water harvesting systems and construction of an impounding reservoirs at this rural villages.
- To provide targeted communities with adequate water supply through suitable rainwater harvesting technologies
- Baseline study of water availability, use and demand as well as projected climate change impacts on water sources in the project targeted rural areas
- Identification and selection of the most suitable technical options/ models of water harvesting, storage and distribution in the targeted rural areas
- Mobilization of local communities and formation of local self-help groups
- Training of Tarayana and Dzongkhag (district) staff for training and technical backstopping of local self-help groups in the installation, operation and maintenance of the selected technical options/ models
- Installation of the selected technical options/ models of water harvesting, storage and distribution in the targeted rural areas, preceded by training of local self-help groups
- Monitoring and testing of the installed technical options/ models, leading to updating and comprehensive documentation of their comparative advantages and disadvantages
Inputs:The main inputs are technical expertise, financial resources, institutional support, equipments, community participation, training and research materials.
(1) Water harvesting options/ models installed, monitored and tested in selected rural communities in four Dzongkhags, based on baseline study of water situation and analysis of comparative advantages and disadvantages of the various options/ models, benefitting at least 25 rural communities across the targeted Dzongkhags;
(2) A core group of Tarayana and Dzongkhag staff in place with training and ability of technical guidance and backstopping to local self-help groups in the in the installation, operation and maintenance of the selected technical options/ models of water harvesting, storage and distribution;
(3) Trained local self-help groups in place among at least 25 rural communities for installation, operation and maintenance of the selected technical options/ models of water harvesting, storage and distribution;
(4) Comprehensive documentation of comparative advantages and disadvantages of the various water harvesting options and approaches for Bhutan based on the results and experiences accrued from the project, providing the basis for future replication and scaling-up of the tested options/ models.