Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Service Above Self - Rotary Club of Thimphu's Humanitarian Projects II

WATER – GIVER OF LIFE: Our planet earth is sometimes called the Blue Planet – a name derived from the color of water. All life forms on earth must draw sustenance from it; it is a life giver, it purifies and is a great source of strength. But it can also cause great destruction. The military have been known to use it as a weapon of annihilation, while in the hands of a healer, it holds the power to cure and mend.

The Bhutanese people know different forms of water by a number of names that differentiate one from the other: seas and oceans are called Jamtsho; large free flowing rivers are called Tsangchhu. Rivulets and small streams are called Rongchhu; while waterfalls take on the name of Zarchhu. Pools and ponds are known as Umchhu and, best among the best of waters are called Drupchhu: blessed water that emanate out of cavities of rocks and cliffs.

Water plays a variety of important roles in the life of a Bhutanese. In traditional Bhutan, every mother of a newborn must be fed water to re-condition her body from the ravages of childbirth. Every newborn must begin life on this earth by being cleansed by water – a ritual known as the Lhabtsang Thruesey.

Bhutanese also use water as burial grounds. Stillborn babies and children under five years of age, including those who die at age 81 are not cremated but put into woven cane baskets and wooden boxes and submerged into deep pools of rivers.

But the most important use of water is for drinking purpose. Water is central to healthy growth of children and adults alike. While Bhutan has the highest per capita availability of water in the region, access to clean and safe drinking water is a huge challenge. The problem of plenty has been caused mainly because of our geography. While settlements and farmlands are on hilltops, most waters are in the ravines at the bottom of the valleys. Thus there is paucity of accessible water, quite often forcing people to consume unsafe water that are not necessarily contaminated - but mostly muddy.

The Rotary Club of Thimphu became aware of the lack of safe drinking water in some of our rural schools. Thus, over the past 3 years, we have been endeavoring to help in the delivery of safe drinking water, particularly to schools in the rural areas. So far we have done close to 15 projects around the country.

It was during February this year that we were made aware of a filtration system that was unique and most ideal for Bhutan’s conditions. Called the SkyHydrant Water Filtration Systems, these industrial capacity water filters that are built like tanks, are capable of dispensing 12,000 ltrs. of clean and safe drinking water a day. Since the time the Malaysian Rotarian - Rtn. K K Looi - introduced us to this filter, we have been relentless in our pursuit at acquiring few units of these fabulous filtration systems, for installation in our schools.

The massive industrial sized SkyHydrant MAX Water Filter System that can churn out 12,000 lts. of clean drinking water per day

Late September of this year we were informed that a Disaster Aid Response Team (DART) Member from Disaster Aid Australia would be arriving Bhutan with 2 units of these fabulous filters. Mr. Andrew Gunn, a DART Member from Disaster Aid Australia arrived Bhutan on 30th September, 2017 – carrying with him two enormous packages of SkyHydrant filters. Since then, we have received further 4 units. As of now, we have installed these filters in the following schools:

Bongo Primary School, Chukha

 Dashiding Higher Secondary School, Punakha

Lobesa Lower Secondary School, Punakha

Yebilabtsa Central School, Zhemgang

Zhemgang Central School, Zhemgang

One more unit is due for installation at the Udzorong Central School, Trashigang - bringing the total installation of these great filters to 6 units so far. It is our hope that Disaster Aid Australia will continue to support us in delivering clean and safe drinking water to our school children around the country.


  1. I thank you and Disaster Aid Australia for healing us with fabulous water filter system which will going to help thousands of our school children. And I hope you will help us again in times to come in urgent needs. Good day!

  2. Wonderful. But would be even nicer without the plastic cups.