Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

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Rural water system helps alleviate impact of drought in Somalia

UNICEF Somalia/ Waaciye WASH
© UNICEF Somalia/ 2011/ Morooka
Mr. Abdullahi Omar Hassan, an elder in Waaciye Village, describes how the situation has changed after the rehabilitation of the water system in his village as he stands next to the village's water source.

By Iman Morooka

WAACIYE, Somalia, 28 April 2011: As communities in Somalia face harsh conditions following the failure of the October-December Deyr rains, the people of Waaciye village [pronounced Waaiye] are grateful that the borehole in their community is now operational, serving as a reliable and safe water source.

Waaciye, with an estimated population of 1000 families, is located about 140 km south of Bossaso -the main port town in northeast Somalia “Puntland”.  Before the rehabilitation of its borehole earlier this year, the villagers in Waaciye had to rely on water trucked by vendors from a source located 70 kilometres away to meet their essential needs.

UNICEF, with support from the Government of Denmark helped clean up the borehole, and installed an elevated water storage tank connected with pipes to four water kiosks in the village. With the installation of the submersible pump, funded by the Swiss National Committee for UNICEF, the system was complete. 

Abdullahi Omar Hassan, community elder and father of nine, says:“ Now we have water produced locally, in a time when communities are facing a big drought problem. When this borehole was not working, we had to rely on trucks which travelled long distances to transport water and we had to pay almost six times the price of what we pay now.”

In Karkaar region, where Waaciye is located, there are only few boreholes available while vast areas that are not covered with deep and reliable water sources have to rely on water trucking and water collected in Berkads (traditional rain water catchment facilities) which have dried up due to the drought.

UNICEF Somalia/ water tanker
© UNICEF Somalia/ 2011/ Morooka
A water tanker at a water collection point near the borehole in Waaciye Village.

Water trucked to such dry areas comes from operational boreholes in other locations- like the one in Waaciye. At the water point near the borehole in Wacciye, vendors came to fill up their tankers to transport the water to remote areas. By selling some of its water, the community of Waaciye is able to use the collected fees to maintain its water system.

“As the drought looms across Somalia, it was extremely crucial for us to ensure that key boreholes are functioning to serve the surrounding communities” said Shivanarain Singh, UNICEF’s WASH Specialist. “In Putland, in consultation with the government, UNICEF has identified 11 priority boreholes that needed urgent intervention to be operational in the face of the current drought. Of them so far six have been completed and currently functioning, Waaciye is one of them. Thanks to emergency supplies that we had prepositioned, we were able to respond in a swift way”

In the next phase of the project in Waaciye, a public-private partnership (PPP) approach will be introduced for better management of the village’s water system. The scheme will ensure that the system is run through the involvement of a water utility company, Puntland’s water authority, as well as local community members and other stakeholders.

“We have so far supported the implementation of 12 PPP-run urban water systems in Somalia which proved to be successful in the effective and sustainable management of water resources.” said Mr. Singh. “By expanding this approach to rural areas like Waaciye, we will help reduce the geographical disparity in water supply. The approach will also put in place a mechanism which will help ensure the reinvestment of collected fees for improved operations and maintenance of the system.”

 

 
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