Urgent Water Project

Wonderful news! The project has been fully funded! We will report back as soon as possible with news and photos showing the impact of your generosity.

Thank you for helping the nuns have a safe, reliable supply of water!

This is a massive water project that was urgently needed for the nuns and teachers at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute. The old water system did not provide enough water and, what little they had, was often polluted.

The cost to the nuns is $29,680 and includes the catchment, storage, chlorination, and piping of the water for 400 residents of Dolma Ling. The stable water supply will serve the entire campus, including the nuns’ housing blocks, the teachers’ housing, the medical clinic, and the guesthouse.

The new water system will be half funded by the local government and will also benefit 800 residents of the village below the nunnery.

The nuns had been asking for a reliable, safe supply of water for years. The old water supply was very inadequate and the situation was difficult to manage. It strained the relationship of the nunnery with the local people.

For this new system which is a big project, water will be taken from a source near the outflow of the small hydro-electric project on the nunnery’s local river.

Background to the Water Project

Water is life but, in recent years, there’s been a growing scarcity of water reaching the Dolma Ling campus. The nuns have had many difficulties in maintaining their current system.

The existing water system was established decades ago when the nunnery was built. It relies on the traditional local village system of channelling water on the hills above the nunnery through streams maintained by the villagers and farmers. The channelled water is used for livestock, irrigation, and domestic washing. Each plot of land is entitled to be provided with this surface running water.

urgent water project, Dolma Ling, water reservoir, water supply for Dolma Ling, clean water for Dolma Ling

The nuns at Dolma Ling cleaning the large pond reservoir at the top of the nunnery that serves as a source of water for the community of 250 nuns plus teachers.

At Dolma Ling, the water was channelled into a pond reservoir where it underwent natural sedimentation and was exposed to the purifying UV rays of the sun before being pumped out through a rapid sand filter, chlorinated, and then stored in large tanks. From these tanks situated at the top of the campus, water flows by gravity into all the buildings. The nuns used the local channel so they would not place undue pressure on the water supply provided by the government and therefore reduce the domestic supply to the villagers.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Because the nuns couldn’t rely on this system for all their needs, they had installed two half-inch domestic connections from the regular government water supply into each building. However, the water in these pipes flows for only one hour in the morning and one in the evening. The supply is inadequate for 400 people and is also very erratic. It sometimes doesn’t run for days at a time.

water for Dolma Ling, Tibetan Buddhist nun

There is not enough water for the nuns at Dolma Ling. A nun fills thermoses with boiled water for drinking.

In 2019, again with the help of the government “Smart City” program, the nuns installed a bore well at the front of the property. The well water is pumped through a filtration and purification system which then directly supplies the kitchen, the water faucets in the dining hall, and the hot water boilers where nuns refill their thermoses. However, this bore well is also not sufficient to provide for the nuns’ needs.

When the supply channel runs dry there is no water at all in the nunnery. Increasingly, over the past few years, the nuns have had to regularly walk up to the stream in the early morning or evening to find out why the water is not running. The rapid expansion of the village above the nunnery means that there is increasing demand for the water. Recently the nuns have been reproached by angry villagers or farmers who have diverted the stream to their land and will not allow the nuns to change the stream’s course to get water.

The quality of water in the stream has also deteriorated. People nearby use it to wash cars and poor construction practices mean that dirty water pollutes the stream. To get safer water, the nuns have taken to filling their pond reservoir only at night when the supply is cleaner because people are not using the stream to wash clothes or vehicles.