Monday, May 7, 2018

Are Our School Drinking Water Safe to Drink?

Combined with snow, ice, freshwater lakes, running streams, rivers and ground water, Bhutan has one of the highest per capita availability of water in the world. With an average flow of 2,238 m3/s, Bhutan generates 70,572 million cubic meters per annum, i.e. 94,500 m3 per person per year, the highest in the region.

And yet, Bhutan suffers, what I call, “the problem of plenty”. Most of our waters are at the bottom of ravines and gorges, while our settlements are on hilltops and plateaus. Plentiful water is most often inaccessible to us.

Even worst, over the past few decades, we have been choking our life giving rivers with hydro-power dams that churn out debts amounting to hundreds of billions, at 10% interest. Over time, I fear that our water resources may no longer remain under our control.

But there seems to be a greater water borne threat that we seem to ignore - drinking water that we supply to our school children. How many of the water supplies in our schools are really safe for our children to drink?

With generous financial support committed by Disaster Aid Australia (DAA), the Rotary Club of Thimphu has begun the arduous journey of reaching safe drinking water to every school in Bhutan. The DAA has committed Australian Dollars one million by the end of 2020 – to achieve that goal.

Is the RGoB willing to commit 1% of that commitment made by the Australian NGO - to realize that goal? There is a need to go beyond the talk!

Since we started to install SkyHydrant water filters in schools, the Rotary Club of Thimphu has carried out some tests - to determine the quality of water that are being consumed by our school children. The following are the test results derived from one beneficiary school and other water sources in the vicinity of the installation. Look at the following results. The test was carried out early last month by the Health Assistant of the BHU in the vicinity of the school.

Sample drawn from the drain close to the school - totally infested with bacteria

Test result of one village close to the school. High level of E.Coli content - unfit for drinking unless treated

Test result of another village close to the school. Some level of E.Coli content - drinkable after treatment

Test results of the water quality at the Basic Health Unit that conducted the test - No E. Coli but presence of foreign particles visible

Test results of the water at the school where DAA donated SkyHydrant water filtration system was installed - No E. Coli and no foreign particles visible

I fear that water supplied to our school children may not be safe. Does Ministry of Education test water quality in schools? Does Health Ministry do it? Do the schools themselves do it? What are the results?

We keep talking of falling quality of education among our children. Could it be directly linked to the quality of water we supply to the school children?

Please spare a moment to give it a thought.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

100 Rotary Peace Fellowship on Offer

The following announcement is made for the benefit of Bhutanese scholars aspiring to go for further studies.

Every year, the Rotary selects up to 100 professionals from around the world to receive fellowship to study at one of the Rotary Peace Centers.

You still have one more month in which to make your application for the Rotary 2019-2020 Peace Fellowship.

The Rotary Club of Thimphu will be most happy to endorse applications from Bhutanese applicants. However, please note the dateline for application submission. Please read up at the site indicated below, so that you know what you are supposed to do. Please do not ask us to do your work for you – the first test of your eligibility is your willingness to do your part.

Please submit your application to us at:

You will need the following information:

Our Club No. is    : 84427
Our District No. is: 3292
Best of Luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Electrifying Figures

At the end of 2017, the global renewable energy generation capacity stood at 2,179 GW. Of this, 167 GW was added in 2017 alone.

Of the total power generation increase added during 2017, solar and wind accounted for 85%.

The growth in renewable energy generation in 2017 was 8.3%.

HYDRO-POWER: This sector has seen the lowest growth in the last decade - meaning this technology is now old hat. Hydro-electric energy is fast losing steam and nations around the world are not investing in this antiquated technology any more!

The global energy capacities at a glance:

1.  Hydro            :   1,152 GW
2.  Wind              :     514 GW
3.  Solar              :     397 GW
4.  Bioenergy      :     109 GW
5.  Geothermal    :      13 GW

6.  Marine           :    500 MW

Figures are by: International Renewable Energy Agency

The installed capacity of hydro-electricity may seem huge, compared to other renewable energy sources. However, you have to remember that hydro-electricity generation began as far back as 1882.

By comparison, wind power came into commercial existence only in 1940. Power from the sun began to be harnessed commercially only in the 1970’s.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Run-In With Our Men In Blue

Few days back (11.04.2018), I had a run-in with our Men in Blue – next to the Thai Pavilion below Namgay Heritage Hotel. The less than cordial tête-à-tête that followed by the way side was rather peculiar, and revealing at the same time.

MiB: “Wai Lobey, aanina parking betha mecho la” (Sir, you cannot park here).

Me: “Who says so?”

MiB: “I say so.”

Me: “And who are you?”

MiB: “I am the Traffic Police – can’t you read here?” --- gesticulating across his chest.

Me: “Just because you are a traffic police, you can say any old thing?”

MiB: I am not saying any old thing --- I am saying you cannot park here.

Me: “Where does it say this is a NO PARKING zone? Where is the sign board … where is the
         color coded line that will tell me that parking is not allowed in this place.”

MiB: “It is not my job to put up NO PARKING signs, or draw color coded lines to designate an
           area as NO PARKING zone – it is the City Corporation’s. So please go yell at them.”

Me: “If the City Corporation has not put up the sign or drawn a line to show that a place is a
         No Parking Zone, why do you volunteer to designate the area as a No Parking area?.
         Obviously the City Corporation does not consider this a No Parking area”

MiB: “Because this is a 2-ways traffic road.” Excuse me?????

Me: “I will not recognize this as a No Parking Zone if there is no sign that says as such.”

MiB: “Oh really? Then show me where is the White Box that tells you that you can park here?”

Me: “Are you telling me that we can park only in areas where there are white boxes drawn?”

MiB: “Anyway, traffic management is my responsibility and duty. So I am telling you,
           you cannot park here.”

Me: “Wai police – you are a law enforcer – your responsibility is to enforce a law that is in
          place – you have no authority to legislate new laws at your whim and fancy. The fact that
          there is no law – sign board or white line on the road – means there is no law so you
          cannot tell me what you are telling me.”

The back and forth argument went on for over half an hour, to no avail. But the fact that the MiB did not ask me to surrender my documents or driving license, is proof that the bugger knew he was not entirely within his rights, in giving me a hard time.

At times the arguments verged on the ridiculous. But I understand --- our MiB has to deal with some real nut cases – day in, day out. Their work is certainly not easy and they have all my sympathies. But I fear that I have not seen the last of this incident – it is bound to come up again and again, until the bakers are taught to bake palatable cakes.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Back of the Envelope Calculations - Forestry can be bigger growth driver than Hydropower Sector

The above is word for word quotation by Phuntsho Namgyel, author of Forest for Gross National Happiness.

Wikipedia explains “back-of-the-envelope calculations” thus:

"A back-of-the-envelope calculation is a rough calculation, typically jotted down on any available scrap of paper such as an envelope. It is more than a guess but less than an accurate calculation or mathematical proof." 

However we may wish to explain it, the following maths by Phuntsho Namgyal is certainly a thought provoking maths.

According to NFI (National Forest Inventory) 2016, we have a timber reserve of 1001 million m3. The national forest added net 472 million m3 since the first NFI in 1981 with average annual increment of 13.50 million m3 (2016 - 1981 = 35 years).

An increase in Growing Stock is an indication  of a maturing forest and/or more areas brought under forest cover.

The forestry share of GDP in 2016 was 2.68% or Nu. 4 billion. We removed in the year about 0.39 million m3 of wood which is 0.04% of the Growing Stock, or 2.9% of net annual increment.

An annual increase of wood harvest from 0.39 million m3 to:

1 million m3 = Nu. 10 billion
2 million m3 = Nu. 20 billion
3 million m3 = Nu. 30 billion
4 million m3 = Nu. 40 billion
5 million m3 = Nu. 50 billion

5 million m3 of wood extraction amounts to 0.5% of growing stock or 37% of net allowable increment, way below the sustainable harvest level.

The hydropower revenue in 2016 was Nu. 19.89 billion which was 13.38% of GDP.

Technically speaking, forestry has tremendous potential to be bigger growth driver than hydropower sector.


I might add: No 10% interest payable either!!

Ofcourse, it is a back-of-the-envelope calculations - but even if only half the maths is correct, we would still come out smelling like roses.

A most intriguing maths indeed!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

SkyHydrant Water Filters For Every School in Bhutan

In traditional Bhutan, every mother of a newborn used to be fed water to re-condition her body from the ravages of childbirth. Every newborn began life on this earth by being cleansed by water - a ritual known as Lhabtsang Thruesey.

But in modern Bhutan, our challenge is that our waters may no longer be safe for Lhabtsang Thruesey or to recondition a child-birth ravaged woman’s body. Our water bodies have been subjected to all sorts of defilement, caused by modernity and the environmental ruin it brings to our natural habitat. Our waters are no longer clean or safe for drinking. But clean and safe water is critical to healthy growth of children.

The Rotary Club of Thimphu understands the multiple benefits of providing safe drinking water to children – the direct benefit is that it helps improve school attendance – but the greater benefit that is not immediately visible is that healthy children contribute to reduction is health related costs to the nation. Bhutan provides free health care – thus if we are able to curb water related diseases among children, it will translate into huge savings for the government.

In the last few months we have been partnering with Disaster Aid Australia (DAA) in providing water filters to schools across the country. We have already installed 6 units of the innovative water filters manufactured in Australia called SkyHydrant filters. On 24th of this month we received additional 4 units of these filters for installation in the following schools:

1.  Damphu CS
2.  Kabesa CS
3.  Phuntshopelri PS
4.  BAAF sports ground in Lungtenzampa.

During a simple ceremony, these filters were handed over to the Ministry of Education, yesterday.

 The Education Secretary receives the DAA's donation of SkyHydrant water filters draped in ceremonial scarves, from Rtn. S. T. Dorji, Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Thimphu.

  Officials of the School Health and Nutrition Division, Ministry of Education, pose with the SkyHydrant water filters

The Disaster Aid Australia has committed to raise funds to supply 120 of these filters over the next two years. Their aim is to reach water filters to every school in the Kingdom. It is an extremely challenging endeavor but as the CEO of Disaster Aid Australia says, it is important to start the journey.

The journey has certainly started in real earnest.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Rotary International District 3292 PET Seminar Held in Bhutan


My recent mail to Rotarians in Nepal ended thus:

At a higher level, the PET Seminar has achieved what we at RC Thimphu has always aspired to achieve - that of spreading goodwill and understanding between the Bhutanese and the Nepalese - two mountain people in the same neighborhood that share a commonality in geography, history and culture. The multiplier effect of the 111 Nepalese going back home with feeling of kinship and speaking about it to many other Nepalese at home will one day bring our two countries even closer than we already are. The Rotary cause does not end at the doorsteps of volunteerism and humanitarian service. Even more important is the role we Rotarians play in building bridges across nations and continents……

This was in response to the congratulatory mail sent to the Rotary Club of Thimphu by Past District Governor Keshav Kunwar.

Between 17th to 20th March, 2018, Rotary Club of Thimphu played host to 111 Rotarians from Nepal who held their 2017-2018 PET Seminar in the country. Among the group were over 60 incoming Club Presidents and three District Governors from Rotary International District 3292. Every year before the incoming club Presidents take on their responsibilities, they are trained in all areas of their responsibilities. PET stands for "President Elect Training".

For the past two years, the Rotary Club of Thimphu has been working on bringing Rotary meetings and seminars to Bhutan because we believe that Bhutan has the ideal conditions as a MICE destination. We are happy to have been able to bring one substantial MICE event to Bhutan - after working for 2 years. We hope to be able to bring many more Seminars to Bhutan.

The preparatory work involved is massive - but with dedication and hard work, nothing is impossible. The Seminar went off without a hitch; we exhibited our sense of hospitality at the highest level; the selection of our seminar venue, hotels and transportation was hugely appreciated by the delegates. No complaints on the variety and quality of food either. Fellowship and the cultural program during the farewell dinner was, according to the delegates, superlative!

Fellowship and bone-fire at the reception dinner on 17th March, 2018

Group photo after the end of Seminar on 19th March, 2018

 Cultural event at the close of the Seminar - Fellowship is an important aspect among Rotarians

Delegates take their places at the Seminar hall

 PDG Keshav Kunwar addressing the participants

And yours truly got recognized too --- for all my hard work in putting together this maiden Rotary PET event: I got gifted an exquisitely crafted bronze Buddha image, as a token of appreciation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Climate Change in Reverse

In the early 1980’s an event took place in Thimphu that so infuriated a visiting American lady journalist that she coined a brand new phrase – Apartheid in Reverse. Some of you may recall that Apartheid was the practice of racial segregation where the white minority in South Africa was considered superior to the majority black natives. The whole world set up an embargo against the economically dominant Afrikaner government, which finally led to the collapse of the Apartheid regime in the mid 1990’s, although the generational effects of Apartheid still linger.

The term Apartheid in Reverse came to mind during my travel to Punakha on 7th March, 2018. When I reached Dochu-La, the sky was sparkling clear and the Himalayan mountain ranges in the distance were clearly visible. What was heartwarming was the view of Mt. Masagung (7,158 Mtrs.) fully clad in snow - something that I missed seeing for the past two decades and more. This peak that qualifies as one of the highest mountains in the country as been shorn of snow for the past many years - to the point that it began to look naked, proving the varsity of the effects of climate change caused by global warming.

Mt. Masagung in March, 2018

Mt. Masagung in December, 2016

The restocking of the Masagung with billions of tons of snow is good news for Bhutan, and the riparian states downstream of the Brahmaputra. The snow will be preserved in the form of ice and, overtime, the ice melt will feed the rivers that will go on to turn the debt-ridden turbines of our doomed hydro-power projects churning out losses at 10% interest.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Baby Steps - A Potential Global Revolution

David Langworthy, CEO and Founder of Disaster Aid Australia (DAA) calls himself a mad man. And he is proud to be one - he believes that only mad men dare tread on paths others would not.

To understand more about Disaster Aid Australia, please visit:

I hadn’t quite realized what we were taking on when we, the Rotary Club of Thimphu, invited David to visit Bhutan, in gratitude for the most generous gift of 10 SkyHydrant water filter systems for our school children. In the days that followed his arrival in Bhutan - the enormity of what we were taking on hit me - having spent 5 days with the man who is set on a colossal dream - Safe Water for Every Child on this planet. He believes that safe water is the most basic human right.

Chief of School Health and Nutrition Division, Ministry of Education, Aum Jamyang Choeden with David at Dochu-La Pass, on their way to visit the beneficiary schools in Punakha and Tsirang

He is embarking on a global movement that espouses safe water as a Basic Human Right. And he wants to start with Bhutan. In the coming months and years, he wants to turn Bhutan into a model country where he will test-launch his vision - by delivering safe water to every school children in the country. At the request of the Education Minister Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, David has agreed to initiate the program by first working on the delivery of the requested 60 SkyHydrant filters - which he promptly upped to 120 units. Based on the input to be provided by the Ministry of Education, the Rotary Club of Thimphu will submit to him a proposal - a general outline of where and how his vision for Bhutan will be played out. Simultaneously, he will be presenting his vision at the global level, during one of the seven Breakout Sessions of the Rotary International Convention in Toronto this June, where anywhere from 20,000 - 30,000 Rotarians will congregate. He is sponsoring a number of speakers from the Region, to share their experiences in safe water delivery, at the Toronto Convention.

Bhutan and the Rotary Club of Thimphu will be represented in that Breakout Session in Toronto.

Built like a tank - the famous SkyHydrant water filter that dispenses 12,000 ltrs. of clean and safe water every day. The water from these filters are healthier than the bottled mineral water since the SkyHydrant does not remove the essential minerals from the water it dispenses

He thinks that what he will achieve in Bhutan will be the first baby steps that will ultimately lead to the realization of his final objective - of delivering safe water to every child on this planet. He says that if Rotary has been able to single handedly eradicate Polio, there is no reason why the organization cannot achieve the same level of success in delivering safe water to every child on this earth.

By any measure, what David is embarking on is nothing short of a revolution that could gain momentum at a global scale, and alter lives. And yet, I am amazed by the simplicity with which he outlines his monumental dreams - akin to a Buddhist monk on his ancient ritualistic walk to gather alms - calm, serene and unwavering.

Fate, destiny, karma …. What can be said of them? They collide and clash and the synthesis can result in some unexpected journeys and happenstance. The Rotarian K K Looi from Malaysia who gave a 20 minutes talk on the subject of SkyHydrant during the Rotary Conference early last year in Thimphu, could not have imagined in his wildest dreams that his talk would end up being pivotal in the delivery of safe water to every child in this country and, eventually, the whole world.

I suppose it was destined - a destiny that is most welcome!

NOTE: In less than 20 hours, this post rose to the top of the ladder as the most popular post of the week.
             Look to the column "Popular Posts" on the left.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Sinking Dam Site of Bhutan's Biggest Hydro Power Project Under Construction

The photo below is of the dam site area of the country's biggest hydro power project - the 1,200MW Punatsangchhu Hydro Power Project-I. The sign board depicted sits bang on top of the area where the project's dam has been under construction for the past close to a decade.

No words can better describe the pathetic story that is the PHPA-I. The picture tells the story. It was taken on 16th February, 2018. The project authorities are admitting that the area is SINKING.

The project authorities have clearly indicated that the dam site is located in an area that is sinking

It is my understanding that the project may never see the light of day. The project's coffer dam has seen flooding for two successive years. If the project authorities failed to do a better job of designing a simple coffer dam, God only knows how many other design flaws are going to surprise us in the coming years.

Take for instance the matter concerning the de-silting of the dam. How well have they planned/designed it? How effectively are they going to be able to de-silt the mammoth dam of the few trillion tons of silt and muck that will be deposited annually into the belly of the dam, by the flooding Punatsangchhu? Even if they have a good design, where and how are they going to dump the muck?

If the dam ever gets built, what kind of water body is the 130 Mtrs. high dam going to create? How far will the back flow be? Will the water mass trigger earth quakes? Will it alter weather patterns?

So many questions remain unanswered. And, if that were not enough, we are told that the roof of the underground power house of PHPA-II caved in - burying unspecified number of workers.

In the meantime, solar energy is all set to take over from hydro - as the cleanest and cheapest energy source, in the next 4-5 years. And India is leading the way in the global push for harnessing the power of the sun. Hydro energy will be old hat .... and we will be left gaping at idle turbines worth few hundred billion Ngultrums in loans at 10% interest rate.

I want to know who will cry for us then?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

One more – from among a slew of Humanitarian Projects by the Rotary Club of Thimphu.

Ms. Kezang Wangmo, a 26 years old Bhutanese young lady has a eye-related problem that is a mouthful to pronounce. The ailment is called – Keratoconus. Try and pronounce that!

 Ms. Kezang Wangmo - young and vivacious but Keratoconus bound!

Wikepedia describes Keratoconus thus:
Keratoconus (KC) is a disorder of the eye which results in progressive thinning of the cornea. This may result in blurry vision, double vision, nearsightedness, astigmatism and light sensitivity. Usually both eyes are affected. In more severe cases a scarring or a circle may be seen within the cornea. While it occurs in all populations, it may be more frequent in certain ethnic groups such as those of Asian descent.


The girl approached the Rotary Club of Thimphu to help her correct the problem. However, the Club’s long established policy is that we do not take on individual cases. Regardless I happen to have a good friend in Dhaka, Bangladesh who is the Managing Director of one of the region’s best eye hospitals called Bangladesh Eye Hospital.

I contacted the good doctor for help, and he promptly agreed to perform the procedure needed - called CXL - absolutely free of cost. Not only that, he also agreed that his hospital would provide a guest room at a concessional daily charge of only Nu.1,000.00 per night. Over and above that, he would send someone over to pick up the girl and her husband from the airport. This is Rotary spirit at its highest - Dr. Niaz Abdur Rahman, Consultant Vitreo-Retina Surgeon & Managing Director of Bangladesh Eye Hospital, Dhaka is a Rotarian.

So, the cost of the procedure has been duly taken care of. Next hurdle was the cost of air ticket to travel to Dhaka and back. The girl and her husband are not financially capable for the reason for which she contacted us for help. So we then wrote to the national flag carrier - Druk Air for help. They readily agreed to issue two complementary round trip air tickets to the girl and her husband - in partial fulfillment of their CSR. In that respect, Druk Air has always been forth coming - we congratulate them for their sense of social responsibility, as the country's national flag carrier.

Now  it is all systems go - every thing is in place and the girl will soon be traveling to Dhaka to save her eye sights. She has problem in both her eyes.

Deliverance from darkness is what I call this. A worthy humanitarian Rotary project.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Yet Another Humanitarian Service Project by the Rotary Club of Thimphu

On Sunday the 28th January, 2018, the Rotary Club of Thimphu officially handed over 36 Pour-Flush Type toilets in the impoverished community of Bongo village, under Chhukha Dzongkhag.

21 of the 36 toilets can be seen in this cluster of village homes - structures with red roofs

It is a mystery why Bongops are so poor that they cannot build toilets for themselves. This village sits bang in the middle of Bhutan’s earliest hydro power projects - Tala and Chhukha Hydro Power Projects. From all accounts hydro power projects are supposed to bring riches to the community where they are located. The reality is that even the access road to Bongo village is unpaved and barely usable.

The Club's Logo stands out bold and proud atop one of the toilets

The quality of work done on the toilets by the Coordinator and the community is impressive

The Bongo toilet project is Rotary Club of Thimphu’s signature project. The level of community ownership and spirit of collaboration was such that the construction of entire 36 toilets were completed in 35 days – which is to say that one toilet took less than a day to construct. Around the world, the Rotary Club of Thimphu is credited with speedy and timely implementation of projects – but nothing comes even close to what we achieved in Bongo. The credit ofcourse goes entirely to one of the Bongo Tshogpa Members – Mr. Sangay Thinley. He tirelessly worked to ensure that the project was on schedule and that there was no cost overruns. Even better, what he and his team produced at the end of the project period is something that we can all be proud of.

Shinier they come, better they get! Club President Tsewang Rinzing with Rtn. Bharatbhushan Jayantilal of Rotary Club of Metro Kuala Lumpur who represented the Malaysian Clubs during the handing-over ceremony of the toilets

But it appears that we cannot rest on our laurels – not just as yet. The village next to Bongo called Ketokha is on to the act – they too want toilets. And they want 59 of them! And why not? Who are we to deny them their toilets? Happily, we are already working on the project – cash for 4 toilets is already firmly in the pocket – 55 more to go down. And, we will get there – with help from some 3 million bountiful Rotarians spread over 220 countries around world.

After all, I have to be kept honest too -  I cannot be allowed to forget that I was, after all, born on the World Toilet Day – 19th November!
Ketokha village in Bongo - they too want toilets and 59 of them

The names of the donors to the Bongo Project is listed below. As you can see, it has mostly been the Malaysians’ show:

Dr. Selva Kumar SIVAPUNNIAM, Rotary Club of Indera Mahkota, Malaysia
TEH Boon Chun, Rotary Club of Alor Setar, Malaysia
Mahandaran PERUMAL, Rotary Club of Sri Petaling, Malaysia
Allison FONG, Rotary Club of Bandar Utama, Malaysia
Joseph YEO, Rotary Club of Bandar Utama, Malaysia
Rotary Club of Bandar Utama, Malaysia
Rotary Club of Ara Damansara, Malaysia
James OOI Wah Chooi, Rotary Club of Puchong Centennial, Malaysia
William PU Meng Jin, Rotary Club of Puchong Centennial, Malaysia
Jimmy WONG You Min, Rotary Club of Puchong Centennial, Malaysia
Kejuruteraan Berdua Sdn Bhd, c/o Rotary Club of Puchong Centennial, Malaysia
Judy YU, Rotary Club of Tawau Tanjung, Malaysia
Estate of Mdm KUNG Dee Yot, c/o Rotary Club of Utara Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Rotary Club of Metro Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Modernform Sdn Bhd, c/o Rotary Club of Teluk Intan, Malaysia
Max Solution (M) Sdn Bhd, c/o Rotary Club of Sri Petaling, Malaysia
Cloud Data Sdn Bhd, c/o Rotary Club of Sri Petaling, Malaysia
Rotary Club of Chenai, India
Rtn. Asha Marina S, President 2016 -17, Rotary Club of Madras South, India
Rtn. Dr. Kameswar Singh Elangbam, Past President 2016 – 2017, Rotary Club of Shillong, India
Nubri Capital, Thimphu, Bhutan

One person's name does not appear on the above list - that of Rtn. K K Looi. He deserves special mention for his role in raising the money that made it possible for R C Thimphu to implement the project. He put together the donors who contributed money.

Token of Appreciation Plaque issued to Rtn. K K Looi, for his contribution, by the Rotary Club of Thimphu

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rotary Club of Thimphu Service Projects

With funding from the Rotary Club of Sarasota, USA, the Rotary Club of Thimphu has recently installed a water filtration system at the Technical Training Institute, Rangjung, Trashigang. Made in Germany by Karcher, the reverse osmosis solution dispenses 100 liters of filtered water every hour. The institute has received 2 units of these advanced water filtration systems.

 Karcher water filter made in Germany

Institute Principal getting his dose of filtered water

Next in line is Udzorong Central School, Trashigang where a much, much larger filtration system will be installed during early February. Known as the SkyHydrant Filtration System, this single unit dispenses 12,000 ltrs. of clean and safe water per day. Donated by the Disaster Aid Australia, 5 of these mammoth filters are already in use in 5 schools across the country. Five more are in the process of being installed in schools that need safe water for their children.

SkyHydrant Water Filtration System donated by Disaster Aid Australia

Even as I am writing this Blog post, 36 Pour-Flush type toilets are being inaugurated in Bongo village, Chukha today. The Rotary Club of Thimphu, along with a host of Rotarians and Rotary Clubs from Malaysia, India, and individuals from across the world have contributed to this project. A detailed post will be made in the next few days.

Even as I write this Blog post, 36 of these Pour-Flush type toilets are being handed over to the Bongo community.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Imminent Water Wars of the World

By 2025, two-thirds of the world will live under conditions of water scarcity.
International Water Management Institute

Global water demands will increase by 40% in the next ten years.

Pacific Institute

Two-thirds of the cities in China suffer from water shortages. Clean water is even more rare.

Asia Water Projects

India WILL run out of water in the near future.

Arlington Institute

The world's highest unclimbed peak - Gungkhar Puensoom - located in North-Central Bhutan, reflected on the lake at its base where the as yet undammed Chamkhar Chhu originates

WATER: it is critical to all life forms on this earth. Without it, nothing will survive. And yet, even while we are being forewarned of the eminent disaster from which there is no escape, we remain blasé about it. The least that we can do is to secure what we have, even if adding to it is beyond us.

We may not be doing anything to safeguard our water resources but it looks like one country is certainly preparing themselves. Take a look at the following:

It is obvious that water is going to be a resource over which wars will be fought. If it is going to be that scarce, we have to stop compromising the value of our rivers, by pledging them as collateral for doomed hydro-power projects. All indications are that our rivers in their natural form would serve us better, instead of shackling them to eternal bondage by building dams over it – to turn hydro-power turbines that churn out debts by the hundreds of billions at 10% interest rate.

Let us be responsible to our future generations and make a pledge today to keep some of our rivers free flowing. In any event, solar power is fast emerging as a serious competition to hydro-power. In 1977 solar cells used to cost US$ 76.67 per watt. By July of 2016, per watt cost of solar cells had dropped to US$ 0.26. It will not be long before hydro-power is nudged out of the competition. Thus even from the point of view of investment, it looks like we are putting our debts behind a loser.

Let us stop further hydro-power projects. It is pretty clear that in the next 5-6 years, energy generated by hydro-power projects will no longer be competitive. Even worse, water may no longer qualify as a renewable resource, caused by global warming.

Fortunately for Bhutan, only two of our rivers originate in Tibet China - Kuri Chhu and Amo Chhu. So any acts of water terrorism by China won’t effects us. But it is a completely different story for some other riparian states downstream of some of the major river systems of the Himalayas, as the following maps demonstrates.

Major river systems of Bhutan

Major river systems that originate in Tibet China