2010 Iraq: Rehabilitation of Water Supply Systems In Select Locations in Wassit Governorate E3-13b
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The last couple of years have seen dismal resource allocation towards operation and maintenance severely undermining Minister of Municipalities and Public Works’s capacity to run even the basic Water and Sanitation operations and apply preventive maintenance. As a result a large number of water & sewage facilities including networks are still in a state of disrepair. The investment needed in the sector is monumental requiring injection of substantial resources into the sector over the next few years.
In Wassit governorate, 21 per cent of households use water from unsafe sources. The water storage in connected households is more than 30 per cent based on design capacity of the existing water facilities. Latest assessment undertaken by UNICEF Engineers/Monitors revealed that these facilities are not producing more than 60 per cent of their capacity due to their deterioration and frequent power cuts; specifically Al-Sewaira old Water Treatment Plant which was completely malfunctioned since 2002. Network coverage varies between 40-80 per cent and it is estimated that 605.5 km of pipes is needed to achieve 100 per cent coverage of networks. Deteriorated water networks damaged sewer lines and pose great potential for contamination with grave implications on the public health and environment.
The developmental goal of the project was to contribute to the government’s efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality especially of children under 5 years by enhancing water and sewerage services and strengthen the government’s capacity through enhanced access to improved water and sewerage in Wassit city.
The project was funded under the UNDG-ITF at USD 1,643,985 and then revised to become USD 1,537,933. The original project duration was 12 months starting 8 March 2007 but was implemented over a period of 18 months and ended on 8 September 2008.
UNICEF’s main implementation partners were the Wassit Water Directorate, General Directorate of Human Resources and General Directorate of Water/Ministry of Municipality and Public Works. Other forged partners included community leaders and labor workers who assisted in the implementation of project.
A total of 250,000 inhabitants benefited from the improvements that were implemented through this project by rehabilitating and improving water supply systems in Wassit. In addition, government staff benefited from the capacity development programme, which was implemented as an integral part of the project.
The project was in line with the priorities identified in the National Development Strategy for Iraq, 2007- 2010 with regard to meeting the most urgent rehabilitation needs, training and capacity building. In addition, the project is expected to make a significant contribution towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals by reducing child mortality from communicable diseases and contribution to environmental sustainability.
The project under evaluation addressed the inadequacies in the water supply infrastructure in selected underserved locations in Wassit governorate, the project also contributed to strengthen capacities of Water Authority staff in the proper management of water supply systems to realize the full beneficial impact on the population. Approximately 250,000 inhabitants received enhanced access to potable water through the rehabilitation of the 200 cubic meters per hour capacity water treatment plant in Al-Sewaira WTP, and water distribution networks in Al-Numaniyah, Al-Hay Al-Asra water network, and Al-Kut Districts. The whole community stands benefitted from the project irrespective of gender. Women benefitted more from the improved basic services, allowing them more time to devote to other useful/developmental activities. Children received better attention, which reflected on their enhanced survival and well-being. Rehabilitation works also restored critical services, generated both direct and indirect employment, helped ease infrastructure bottlenecks and enhanced Iraq’s economic competitiveness.
The project was in-line with the priorities identified in the National Development Strategy (NDS), 2005-2007 with regard to improving quality of life of the Iraqi people with special emphasis on water and sanitation. Also the project contributed towards attaining the MDG goals in particular to Goal # 4 = Reduce Child Mortality, Goal # 7 = Ensure Environmental Sustainability and Goal # 8 = Develop Global Partnership for Development.
According to the evaluators; the security situation did not affect project implementation. The main reason for delay was a contractor that did not meet the set timeframe of the contract that delayed works at Al-Sewaira water treatment plant.
Recommendation for UNICEF
- Iraq is a resource-rich country both in terms of material and human resources .Consistent with the priorities identified in the National Development Strategy, The GoI should develop plans and allocate adequate funds under the development budgets of the next few years in order to implement projects to address the appalling environmental conditions in the sub-sectors of water ,sewerage and solid waste management especially in the deprived areas of the southern districts and other neglected rural areas in the country.
- The future sustainability and proper functioning of the projects implemented in close collaboration with UNICEF as well as any projects that will be implemented in the future, will be much dependent on allocation of the necessary funds to cover the running cost of the systems as well as on maintaining an effective system of preventive maintenance of the facilities and equipment. The concerned local water and sewerage authorities should look into it to ensure that these pre-requisites are met at all times.
- Public awareness and community participation are key elements in ensuring the proper functioning of water and sewerage systems. Illegal connections to the systems and dumping of solid waste into the drains often result in clogging and flooding into the streets and alleys. In addition to their offensive hazards, these malpractices are often the main reason for cross-contamination and spread of communicable diseases. UNICEF, Water & Sewerage Authorities should work closely with the MOH and mass –media to enhance public awareness on the importance of proper use of facilities as well as to build a sense of ownership among the served population.
- Institutional support for the local operating units and central planning and/or supervisory units for the purpose of establishing preventive maintenance and systematic analyses of losses including the installation of the corresponding measuring equipment (if possible, at the beginning of the project in order to gather and evaluate specific operational data) and of reducing administrative losses/illegal use should also be introduced in every project where these types of problems arise and corresponding systems are not yet in place.
- The concerned water and sewerage authorities should maintain an effective system for regular inspection of the condition of the public water/sewerage networks to detect any malfunctions, breakdowns or leakages and carry out the necessary repairs and maintenance works to prevent cross-contamination which is a main reason for the onset of water-borne disease outbreaks such as cholera, infectious hepatitis and diarrhea diseases.
- Technical assistance should be sought from UNICEF for enhancing the process of institutional capacity building of water and sewerage authorities, staff of public health laboratories and other national institutions involved in provision of basic water and sanitation services in the country.
- An effective system for regular chemical and bacteriological testing, of water should be carried out by trained staff at quality control laboratories in order to ensure that the quality of drinking water.
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