Irrigation and clean water bring life back to Jarey

The Poverty-Environment Initiative

Nganey village of Jarey Gewog is one of the remotest villages of Lhuentse. The  population is made up of farmers who depend heavily on agricultural produce.

Ever since the villagers remember Nganey has had problems with water.
Animals regularly contaminated the water source and pipelines to channel water to the agricultural fields were rudimentary and highly ineffective. As a result many lands were left unplanted. And the villagers had to live with the consequences of contaminated, scarce water. Among others, no showers, water born diseases and small production of vegetables.

In the past, due to water scarcity, farmers from Jarey were mainly growing corn. Deki Tshomo is now able to grow vegetables and thanks to the farm roads she has also started selling them in markets.

Today the times of water scarcity are over. Clean water and irrigation have brought life to Nganey thanks to a grant, better known as the “Capacity Development Grant” provided by the Joint Support Programme through the Department of Local Governance.

In 2011, the Joint Support Programme carried out trainings on sustainable development and provided local officials with tools to identify causes of environmental degradation, poverty and climate change and to design adequate solutions. The training stressed the importance of managing sustainably natural resources such as water or timber. And provided practical recommendations on watershed management and organic farming techniques. 

The training empowered communities to decide by themselves which activity had to be prioritized in Nganey. After a number of discussions in the gewog assembly, the community decided to tackle the water and land management problem.

As a follow up to the training, a grant was given to Nganey to install an irrigation system, bring water to households and fence the water source, to prevent contamination from animals.

Tshering Phuntsho is the tshogpa, the elected people’s representative of Nganey. He proudly shows the new irrigation systems, how it has allowed reviving fallow land and channel water to vegetable gardens.    

The main crop in Nganey was corn, today the community sees a thriving kitchen garden in every home with a variety of vegetables.

The Joint Support Programme trainings coupled with the Capacity Development Grant have demonstrated that empowering communities and local governments to identify causes of environmental degradation and poverty and to design solutions can lead to fantastic results. Today, Nganey has improved its sanitation, agricultural produce and gained clean drinking water. The village has been recently electrically powered and will soon be linked by a farm road that will bring new economic opportunities for its people.

Today, several villages in Bhutan are part of the Joint Support Programme initiative to train local governments on sustainable development and to provide them grants to complement their scarce financial resources to meet community level needs.

Directed by Marta Baraibar.

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