Khun Clai Free
It takes plenty time just to get a bucket of water and other household chores are ruined due to it; said Daw Lu Myar, a resident of Daw Phu village, Deemawso Township.
Daw Phu Village is a village of nearly 50 households with a population of more than 200. The villagers have to wait in long shifts at the water port for drinking water due to the current shortage of spring water.
“Before we fetch water, we thought we will go to fetch just a bucket of water, without taking bath, and we will come back just in a short time. In reality, however, there are many people already spent an hour or so for picking up a bucket of water when we arrived there. It becomes we don’t have any much more time to go back to work for our housework. In fact, there is no more time to do it.”
In 2012, one of the INGOs helped building a large reservoir and two small ponds in the village to provide sufficient drinking water to Daw Phu Village, the water-scarce village in every summer.
However, Ku Reh said, the water supply, the pipes, from the reservoir to the village ponds has rotted as it have been for nine years.
“They supported full set of water hoses. But as the pipes have been used heavily, the nozzles were no more working well or broken. Although the new pipe have to be replaced, it is not convenient for us to replace it. It would not be fine to replace as the pipe was set up under the ground very deep since the beginning.”
A villager said that when water could not reach to the pond in the village, the villagers had to go to the port to fetch water, which is making more difficult for water to reach to the village pond.
“Now there is no more water in the pipes. The water from the spring is also lesser and lesser. When it was less, it could not reach into the pond anymore. As it could not reach anymore to the pond, we have to fetch water at the spring water outlet.”
In order to get fresh water, locals say they now have to travel to Ngwe Taung Dam, which is more than 17 miles away and about 10 miles away from Seven Steps Lake.
Not everyone can always go tens of miles like this, and not everyone can. Only households with cars or motorcycles can afford to go this far to fetch drinking water.
The villagers said that it would be beneficial for the village to build a dam to store spring water which releases around the village.
A proposal has been submitted to the current NLD government for the construction of the dam, and the Deemawso Township Administrator and Hluttaw members have visited the field as well.
U Pa Ku, the village elder, said, “They said they will do it in 2018, so we cleaned the field and prepared the wood. We have checked all the prepared place and it was planned to do it here. It is possible too. The soil was also sent to Nay Pyi Taw to be used as a soil test laboratory. It was said it all worked out that it is certain we can retrive water from the targeted area. So far, however, nothing has been implemented until 2020.”
The problem of drinking water scarcity is getting worse year by year, U Pa Ku said, adding that he has been waiting for water donors for two years, including last year and this year.
“In the past, we used to distribute water with scales in the summer. The water that is distributed to us is now gone only by this winter. And no more water resource, I wondered if it would get worse next year.”
Hygiene is understood to be important, but when drinking water is scarce, drinking water is a priority, leading to poor hygiene.
“We have to live clean and tidy in this modern world. We have to wash our clothes. We all just said like that. But I want to be clean although the water is scarce. I want to follow with the practice of hygiene. However we need water. When there is no water, I do not know how to clean ourselves,” said Daw Lu Myar.
Residents of Daw Phu say they have to use water with care while they could not wash their hands and feet, or to bathe.
U Ku Reh said he could not fetch water because he could not drive a motorbike, and his family was facing water disputes.
“Water is a big problem for families at home. In every morning, my wife scold me. As there are also many children to taking bathe in the house, my wife could not afford to fetch water alone. The children cannot help her either. It leads her to scold me in every morning.”
In the upcoming months, he said the water in the village reservoir will run out, so does the spring water; therefore, the only hope is they will have to looking forward water donors.
U Pa Ku said he feels embarassed as they can only do waiting for the help from water donors.
“We are looking forward to it though. But if you rely only on them, and if they donate water every year, we will feel embarassed too. Why I say I feel embarassed is because the donors will dontate us, but it would be better if we have our own water source.”
He said he would like to ask the new government to help the village get enough water, as the annual reliance on water donors is not a long-term goal.
It is hoped that the construction of a dam would bring drinking water to the village and overcome the water shortages facing the entire village.
However, in the current period of water scarcity, villagers only have to rely on water donors to provide drinking water.