Drinking Water Sources in Bumthang Dzongkhag: Preliminary Assessment and Community Perceptions
Author Samten Wangchuk
This assessment documents the location and status of community drinking water sources in Bumthang Dzongkhag (district). There is a need for such baseline information to assess future trends of drinking water sources in the Dzongkhag in relation to factors associated for its production such as forest degradation in the watersheds and climate change. A total of 220 water sources, supporting 2379 households were identified through field visits and community consultations. The Study indicated that 61% of water sources are located in blue pine forest, 30% in mixed conifer forest, 7% in land without woody vegetation, and 2% in fir forest. One hundred and ninety households have their water sources in degraded forest. The reasons for forest degradation within 100m of the water sources was ascribed by communities mainly to tree harvesting (42%), non-wood forest product collection (43%), and open grazing (15%).
However, it was not clear whether forest degradation had resulted in a reduction in water quality.
The communities in the areas assessed reported inadequate quantity of drinking water, especially from November to January, associated with drying of water sources.
The research attempts to identify the root causes of the degradation of water sources through social methods, which will require conformity through ecological research. The extension of the study to other dzongkhags, in order to enhance planning of drinking water safety and security while maintaining the health of the watersheds, is discussed. The information generated from this Study will contribute to the formulation of relevant watershed management interventions and inform policymakers in decisions related to water resource planning and management.