Saving the rivers of Bhutan

Safe and reliable water is essential for all aspects of life and rivers are major sources of freshwater in Bhutan. The rivers are seen as a major resource for Bhutan and remain integral to socio-economic development.

Bhutan has one of the highest per capita water availability in the region. However, with growth in population, rapid socio-economic development, and the impact of climate change, the protection of rivers and riverine ecosystems has become an urgent and important issue.

Poor river health is a serious concern with many rivers becoming highly impacted by localized water pollution. It is exacerbated in urban centers by surface drainage, greywater discharge, uncontrolled seepage, and open garbage disposal. The pollution severely impacts the aquatic diversity and riverine ecosystem in these rivers.

It is evident that population growth, industrialization, and urbanization will put in­creasing pressure on Bhutan’s fragile water resources, ultimately leading to decreased water quality if appropriate mitigation measures are not taken. This calls for immediate mitigation measures.

To address these issues, RSPN will:

  • Assess aquatic biodiversity
  •  Consistently educate and advocate on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)
  • Promote eco-friendly technologies and infrastructure to treat grey water and industrial waste
  • Complement the implementation of the Water Act of Bhutan (2011) with a specific focus on water pollution

Some of the effects of poor water quality are:

  • Impacts on hydropower plants
  • Water induced health hazards to humans and life forms.
  • Impacts downstream ecology and livelihoods of the people.
  • Reduced agriculture productivity.
  • Cause reproductive damage within wildlife in ecosystems.

current projects

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

At RSPN, we believe a single grain of sand can tip the scale. You can be the grain that tips the scale towards improved environmental conditions and conservation efforts in Bhutan. RSPN has set a target to raise US$ 1.5 million for next 10 years.