44,000 people in Sa’ada have access to clean drinking water with new UNICEF water projects

UNICEF and Sa’ada governorate launched sustainable water stations in the districts of Sa’ada and Razih to support vulnerable communities

07 November 2023
Mohammed Jaber, Governor of Sa’ada (second from left) and Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Yemen (right) inaugurate the solar-powered Tolomus water station in the district of Sa’ada at a launching ceremony on 1 November 2023.

Sa’ada, 2 November 2023 –   More than 44,000 people in the vulnerable communities of Sa’ada and Razih will have access to safe and sustainable water sources with new water projects set to transform the lives of families.

UNICEF and the governorate of Sa’ada on Wednesday launched the Tolomus and Quhza water stations to provide clean and sufficient water to 40,000 people — a move set to significantly increase water availability and slash water prices for residents .

“I am grateful for this sustainable water supply project, which covers priority needs of children and communities in need. I hope to see continuous support for water, sanitation and hygiene projects with similar sustainable water initiatives, including in remote areas facing water scarcity,” said Mohammed Jaber, Governor of Sa’ada.

The Tolomus water station with a capacity of 750 m³ and the Quhza water station with 150 m³, are expected to reduce operational  hours of use of  fuel by water pumps and lower the water cost per cubic meter from US$ 10 to US$ 0.5. As the population of the city of Sa’ada grows, the new solar-powered wells are expected to meet the greater water needs of people in the community, including internally displaced people.

The Tolomus water station, with a capacity of 750 m³ will provide clean water to the residents of Sa’ada by pumping water from six wells using solar panels. Clean water will be directly channeled into the tanks of households in the nearby area.

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Yemen said, “With these water stations, 50 per cent of water needs of the city will be met using  sustainable energy  without worrying about the disposal of batteries. The partnership with the Governor and the team has been exceptional and I am grateful to see our collective success.” Hawkins went on to thank the German Cooperation for their assistance.

A day earlier, the Bany Al Qam rainwater harvesting tank was unveiled in the mountainous district of Razih, a remote area in the northwest of Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia. The project will help alleviate water shortages during the dry season by providing clean water to more than 4,000 people living in the hard-to-reach mountainous communities. 

Hasan Al Haj, Director of the Razih district and Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Yemen at the Bany Al Qam rainwater harvesting tank in the district of Razih.

Rainwater harvesting is an ecological, sustainable and cost-efficient alternative to fetching water from valleys far away which would require technological investment and much higher operational costs. The rainwater will go through simple natural treatment and will seep into a water network to the village households by gravity without any use of pumping or fuel.

With a capacity of 2000 m³, the initiative will bring down the water price of 1 cubic meter from US$ 11.5 to US$ 0.5, helping families save critical income for other basic needs. It will also help improve sanitation in the communities hit by a cholera outbreak and other water-borne diseases due to a lack of safe drinking water.

The Bany Al Qam rainwater harvesting tank will cater to the needs of 4,000 people in the district of Razih by providing safe and sustainable water treated in an ecological method without using fuel.

“In this  remote and rugged terrain, we need to walk 12 km to fetch water. We desperately needed concrete rainwater harvesting tanks pipelined to water points. Women and children spend a considerable amount of time fetching water and this resulted in many boys and girls being out of school. I hope the project will help children go to school and enable women to efficiently handle household work,” said Hasan Al Haj, Director of the Razih district.

“Water needs are immense here. Other sub-districts in Razih are facing the same issue of water scarcity. I hope the project will expand further to meet the needs of a greater number of people,” he added.

A resident in the district of Razih collects water from a private well. The new rainwater harvesting tank is expected to improve water quality in the community and lower the household expense for water.

Funded by the German Cooperation through the KfW Development Bank, the projects are implemented in partnership with Local Water and Sanitation Corporation (LWSC) in the district of Sa’ada and the Rural Water Authority (GARWP) in the district of Razhi.

Angela Bettiol, UNICEF Programme Manager who heads the risk management unit said, “We will test water quality and ensure that the communities will have access to secure water from the rainwater harvesting tank. Our communities already have access to UNICEF and LAWSC hotline numbers to file any complaint they may have. In collaboration with local partners, we will make sure that appropriate safeguarding measures are in place to protect the lives of people in the community.”



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Megumi Iizuka
Chief of Communications & Advocacy


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