Celebrating World Water Day with a new water system

The new water supply is consistent, and there are no longer water shortages. The residents are thrilled.

In 1961, this small Himalayan settlement was established in the mountains close to the border. It is quite remote, but it’s located along a trekking route, so residents get much of their income from tourists. They also farm barley, wheat, and potatoes.

The settlement is fortunate to have a natural spring nearby but, for most of the last 60 years, actually getting that water to the community has been plagued with difficulties. The haphazard collection of pipes they used for many years were broken and cracked, such that, what little water made it all the way through the system was dirty and contaminated.

Thanks to your support, they were finally able to replace this antiquated system. The new one is now 90% complete. Only the concrete reservoir at the source has been delayed by the pandemic — the lockdown has kept workers from being able to travel to the remote community to finish it. But the new pipes have been laid, and there is now a reserve water tank and tap outside each house. The water supply is consistent, and, thanks to the reserve tanks, there are no longer water shortages. The residents are thrilled.

In these difficult times, when the pandemic has dried up the tourist income the villagers rely on, having good water for farming is especially important. We and they cannot thank you enough for making this possible.

Meet some of the grateful residents

Dechen washes the fresh spinach harvest from his garden.

Dechen Tsering, 51, works at the local school and his wife, Diki Dolma, runs a small teashop near the community. But both are worried today. The pandemic forced closure of schools for several months as well as their teashop.

Diki’s leg is injured and she cannot move around much, so Dechen helps around the house and with their daughters. Their eldest is in India and the younger two are with them in the village. Fortunately, they have a small kitchen garden where they grow some vegetables to feed the family.

They depend on a monthly stipend from their community’s administration, along with their little savings, they are just able to get by. At least they no longer have the worry about clean, safe drinking water, and that they consider a blessing.

Phuntsok Dolkar with her children.

Phuntsok Dolkar, 44, is a widow; her husband passed away 4 years ago. Her two children normally go to school in Mussoorie, India, but due to Covid, the school is closed, and both are home with her.

Phuntsok runs a small shop near the school in the village, which she rented from the community cooperative. The shop is her only livelihood, but since it depends on the school, which has been closed because of Covid, Phuntsok has had no sales for several months. The vegetables from her kitchen garden and the stipend from their community’s administration help her to put food on the table.

Life is very hard in these regions, even more so when you have lost your husband and have two young children to look after. The pandemic compounds all Phuntsok’s challenges, but she stays cheerful and determined. On the new drinking water system, she says, “It is a huge relief for me as I don’t need to walk all the way to the source and carry it back. Now the water tank is fixed, and I have a tap at my home.”