Lhendup, Ugyen, Class of 2014 – (Bhutan)

Practicum Summary:

Building Comunity Collaboration in Watershed Rehabilitation in Chendona Village, Paro, Bhutan

Ugyen’s research practicum focuses on the problems associated with watershed degradation in the Chendona Village of the Paro district of Bhutan, which include a lack of drinking water, inability to practice sanitation, agricultural fields unfit for farming, and food and income insecurity. The contributing factors to the water shortage problems in Bhutan are associated with human impact and climate change, and include watershed degradation, over-harvesting which results in excessive runoff, wild fires, the country’s topography, terrain, and changes in precipitation. Chedona Village was chosen as the research site due to the community’s experience with water shortages. Until recent decades, the community had practiced a sustainable forestry management system through communal forest management and private forestry which maintained the health of the surrounding watershed and the small streams within it used for drinking water. In order to identify solutions to the water shortage crisis and initiate interventions to improve the situation, Ugyen conducted a community consultation meeting, household surveys, field observations, report presentations, and focus group discussions in the Community of Chendona. In his results, Ugyen recommended mass community replantation projects to allow the absorption of run-off into the groundwater, the creation of conservation policies with input from locals, community awareness and education workshops, and the implementation of community-based participatory by-laws to control legal and illegal logging in critical watershed areas.