The irrigation system has also enabled farmers to grow off-season vegetables. “Before, it was hard to grow vegetables even in summer due to water shortage. Now, even winter cropping is possible,” said Lal Bir Rai’s wife Som Maya Suba.
The pressurized piped irrigation system is climate resilient and ensures uninterrupted water flow as opposed to the conventional open-irrigation system. In Bhutan where landslides are common due to its hilly and mountainous landscape, open-irrigation channels often get blocked by slides, falling tree branches and debris, which further triggers landslides.
The irrigation scheme benefits 85 households in the three chiwogs of Sergithangmaed, Semdenjong and Tashithang. The chiwogs have formed a Water User Association to take care of the irrigation scheme. Headed by a Chairperson, the association members include a Secretary and has a family member from each household in the three chiwogs as members. Water guard or “Chu Sungpa” as it is known in the Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language, is a key member.