Restoring reliable access to water in Afmadow
Published June 12, 2018 by Mohamed Rashid Sheikh
In places like Somalia, access to safe water is often not affordable to the poorest. In the time of drought, water scarcity is a major challenge that contributes to food insecurity and diseases. Besides the failure of the rainy seasons, water scarcity becomes worse due to increased pressure on available water sources and lack of maintenance. This leads to the depletion and deterioration of the water resources.
Last year, one out of three main shallow wells in Afmadow town was functioning according to Mohamed the chairman of one of the Water Management Committees in the Afmadow district, Lower Juba region. The over-pressured shallow well was the only source for over 6,000 people. Water from this well was at very high prices, owing to the cost of the fuel to run the generators.
“When there is only one shallow well operating and the fuel price is high, the cost of water increases. This had become a nightmare for the families in the town, who only depended on this well for their water needs,” says Mohamed.
More reliable water facilities that will potentially meet community water needs and better water management practices are important to tackle water shortages. In Afmadow district of Lower Juba region, Somalia Humanitarian Fund and Adeso responded to the water crisis through a combination of immediate relief and rehabilitation of strategic water sources to provide communities with reliable and long term access to water.
The Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) response provided immediate life-saving access to water through water trucking and ensured that people access to water for longer period of time through the rehabilitation and construction of water infrastructure, contributing to the recovery and resilience of affected communities to future droughts.
Through the initiative three shallow wells were rehabilitated in Afamdow district and solar-powered pumps were installed to allow the poor host community as well as the IDP and returnee population access to affordable and clean water at all times.
“Before the rehabilitation and solar powering of the wells, the situation was dire. People would wait in line for more than 6 hours to reach the water point. The queue would sometimes stretch for more than 100m. At times the fuel would run out affecting the operation of the wells. Adeso’s intervention solved all those problems, addressing our water problems,” explained Mohamed.
In addition to the rehabilitation of shallow wells, the water management committee members and the operators of the shallow wells were trained on water management, operation and maintenance of water sources. They also developed a community-based strategy outlining water management best practices which are very important to ensure safe and sustainable access to drinking water.