Orong farmers solve Water Shortage

1

The community and its problem:

Orong, a community located centrally among the other villages of Orong geog under Samdrup Jongkhar District consists of 109 households. A total of 1,019 of the total population of Orong geog reside in this community. Orong community’s biggest problem was water shortage for both drinking and irrigation although there are potentials for increasing crop production. In the absence of irrigation facilities, they depended mostly on rainfall, which over the years have also become erratic making the situation worse. Water being the lifeline, Orongpas had various problems related to water. Hygiene and sufficient production of crops, particularly vegetables, was never assured and conflicts over water were common. The geog Administration had recorded as high as 10 disputes related to water in a year.

An intervention on time: Coordinated through the Renewable Natural Resources Research and Development Centre at Wengkhar, with financial support from the Decentralised Rural Development Project – World Bank / Additional Financing under the Department of Agriculture (DoA), MoAF, a small water project on a community cost sharing basis was implemented in 2013. The project provided an assistance of Nu. 1.00 million of the total cost of Nu.1.235 million. The remaining Nu. 0.235 million was contributed through kind (labour contribution by the community members). A 5.3 kilometre water supply from the source to the community area was installed. The water supply line consists of 63 mm HDPE pipe buried under ground from source to an existing reservoir tank and currently discharges about 5 litres per second of water.

3Impacts: The availability of sufficient water directly impacted on providing enough water to drink as well as for irrigation. Farmers started to grow more vegetables apart from the food crops such as maize. Communal conflicts are rare now. Farmers have revitalised a Vegetable Production Group formed through the Commercial Vegetable Production Program of the Regional Agriculture Marketing Office under the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives. The community experienced an increase in crop production. Although cereal crop production did not significantly increase, vegetable production significantly increased from 1.4 to 18.07 MT with an increase of production area by two times. Between November 2013 and February 2014, the vegetable production group supplied 3.8 MT of vegetables to two schools in the community fetching them an income of Nu. 64,278.00. The community now supplies a variety of vegetables such as Radish, Spinach, chilli, carrot, beans, broccoli, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, potato and peas to the schools and have now embarked on commercial vegetable production.

4Orong school in December 2012 reported incidences of students falling sick which was later confirmed to be vitamin deficiency. The current initiative in increasing the vegetable production and marketing to the School can also contribute towards addressing the nutritional deficiency problems reported earlier.

–       Domang and Pelden Tshomo- DRDP – WB/AF, DoA MOAF

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