COMPLETION OF OMSHARI LANDMARK IRRIGATION PROJECT
The Construction of Omshari Landmark Irrigation Project in Pemathang Gewog, Samdrup Jongkhar was launched on 11 November, 2022 coinciding with the Birth Anniversary of Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck marking a significant milestone for the irrigation sector in Bhutan. At a cost of Nu. 95.00 million, the project was completed and handed over to the beneficiaries and local governments today.
On the joyous occasion of Birth Anniversary of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, the formal handing-over of the works was presided over by His Excellency, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor as the Chief Guest and Mr. Prashant Kumar Das, Consul General of India, Phuentsholing; and the Local Government leaders. The project was financed by the Government of India through the Project Tied Assistance (PTA) Program.
In pursuit of His Majesty the King’s vision for quality water infrastructures, the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock in partnership with De-suung National Service executed the project. An average of 110 De-suups were engaged in the construction.
The Agriculture Engineering Division (AED) under the erstwhile Ministry of Agriculture & Forest, carried out the feasibility study, design and construction supervision of the new irrigation facilities that are of climate resilient technologies including proper water intake structures; 7 km of 450 mm diameter HDPE main pipeline; 7 km of HDPE pipe distribution system, 8 km of concrete distribution canals and 3 drinking water reservoir tanks. To ease in the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of the mainline system a relatively inexpensive and locally developed automation system that uses the Internet of Things (IoT) has been installed. Among other things, the automated system will aid the users in controlling the water flow remotely – during emergencies – using simple Messaging Apps such as Telegram and Whatsapp.
Pemathang Gewog is widely known for its Khamtey rice – a variety that is much sought after by many Bhutanese and is a primary source of cash income for many local farmers. However, the yield and production of Khamtey is currently constrained by irrigation water shortage during its critical growth stages i.e. September end – October. The existing water source – Warong-re is not able to meet both the agriculture and drinking water demands.
With the completion of the project a vast expanse of Chuzhing (paddy land) and Kamzhing (rainfed) measuring over 1000 acres will receive increased irrigation water supply and is expected to boost rice and winter vegetable productions. Besides, it will also provide supplementary water supply for Doma/betel-nut (arecanut) cultivation and livestock farming. Water tapped from the new source – Raoshing-re – will also reduce the demand on the existing one and serve as a source of clean drinking water for several villages. A total of 384 households will be benefited by the project.