Government, UNICEF Representative, and German Ambassador inaugurate Solar Powered Water Supply System in Yei

30 May 2023
the ribbon cutting for the water treatment plant launch
UNICEF South Sudan / Richard Ruati

Yei, South Sudan – 30 May – Government officials and international partners inaugurated the upgraded Yei water supply system, marking a significant milestone in securing a sustainable and safe water supply for the town. The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, the State Minister of Housing, Land and Public Utilities, UNICEF Representative, and the German Ambassador celebrated with the community where 61,000 residents of Yei town can now access clean and safe water, fostering better health and improving lives.

UNICEF implemented the project with funding from the German Government through the German Development Bank KfW. The comprehensive water supply system comprises five boreholes, 59 water kiosks, a 33-kilometer pipeline around the town, and a storage capacity of 375,000 liters.

To ensure water safety, a chlorine dosing mechanism minimizes the risk of contamination during collection and storage. Convenient, safe, and affordable water supply reduces the risks of waterborne diseases, particularly diarrhoea, and helps mitigate the impact of malnutrition on vulnerable children. The provision of safe drinking water close to people’s homes also alleviates the burden on women and girls, who traditionally bear the responsibility of water collection. By creating easier access to safe water collection, people now have more time for other essential activities, enhancing their overall well-being and improving family dynamics.

"This is a pivotal moment for South Sudan and Yei. Clean, accessible water is not just a necessity, but a fundamental human right. This development not only realizes this right for thousands today but also charts a path for a healthier, more secure future for all of South Sudan. The commitment and investment by the German Government played a crucial role in the realization of this vital infrastructure," said Hamida Lasseko, Representative of UNICEF South Sudan.

Notably, the Yei water supply system operates on solar power, making it not only environmentally friendly but also more cost-effective. Compared to generator-powered systems, the use of solar power reduces the cost of water production by half. This allows the sale of one jerry can (approximately 20 liters) of clean and safe water at a price of 30 SSP (approximately US 3 cents) at time of opening. The generated revenue finances the cost of operating and maintaining the infrastructure. 

“The upgrade of the Yei water supply system represents a significant stride towards achieving development in this region. The water utility in Yei is owned by the public. It is accountable to the people it serves and will provide clean, safe, and affordable water accessible for all,” said Tobias Eichner, the German Ambassador to South Sudan. 

Yei Town Water and Sanitation Services has now officially assumed operations of the water system, securing the long-term provision of safe water to the people of Yei. To ensure a smooth handover and financial sustainability, Germany will continue to provide support to the public water utility through its cooperation agency GIZ.

UNICEF South Sudan implemented the project in close cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, and the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Housing, Land, and Public Utilities. The treatment system was designed by Newtech Consulting Group from Sudan with Ammars Construction Company completing the ambitious project within 16 months, setting a noteworthy precedent for infrastructure initiatives of this scale in South Sudan.



About Germany’s assistance to South Sudan

Besides providing humanitarian aid, Germany supports the peace process and the long-term development of South Sudan, primarily in the fields of local governance, rural development, sustainable agriculture, gender equality, and the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.

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