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news | March 24, 2016 | Tajikistan | Development

Tajikistan: Providing sustainable and safe access to water in remote areas

@ACTED Tajikistan / 2016 - People digging trenches for water pipes.

ACTED implemented with the support of UNDP a project aiming at building new water supply systems to ensure equal access to safe drinking water for communities living in three remote villages of the Kathlon district - Chulduchtaron, Pakhmdara and Navobod.

Prior to the project, the population of these three villages did not have access to drinking water. The only spring barely provided water to 10 households. The rest of the population, more than 1,000 people, used mudflow waters resulting from the melting snows and heavy rains, which quality is very poor. The mudflow moreover dries out during the period from November to March each year. During those months people had to go 5 kilometers away to find water and carry it back to their village, harvest rainwater, buy water or use what they could have stockpiled previously.

The new water supply systems collect water from spring catchments in the villages as well as from other springs some kilometers away and supply water to two reinforced concrete tanks containing up to 25 m3 of water. The tanks aim at supplying water to the villages, providing the over 1,100 inhabitants of the villages with over 30,000 m3 of safe water annually. They moreover have been designed to function without electricity, to ensure continuous service throughout the year. The water tanks have been tested to guarantee the safety and quality of the water. The teams also provided beneficiaries with trainings and awareness sessions on good sanitation and hygiene practices.

Zayniddinov chairs the Mahalla committee (an urban subdivision in Tajikistan) of Chulduchtaron. He explains that “the population of the three villages have contributed to the implementation of the project in the form of digging 13 km of trenches for water pipes. This represents a participation amounting to 5,500 USD. We organized teams based on streets, and each team was responsible for digging trenches on a designated plot of land.”

According to Ashropova, who works as a nurse in a health center, “previously, the lack of clean drinking water led to an increase of infectious diseases transmitted through water and dirty hands, even more as people had limited access to sanitary and hygienic knowledge and facilities. Now, our analyses four months after the building of the new water supply systems show that the level of such diseases decreased by almost 50%. No new case of diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis were reported during the last months.”

A water cooperative has been elected to follow up on the new water supply systems. Nizomov, the chairman, explains that it is now fully operational: “Our participation in the training on the rights and responsibilities of citizens on the issue of drinking water and water legislation have increased our ability to co-manage service. We have organized a cooperative for public water, combining all water from the three target villages. We are responsible for the maintenance and technical operation of the water system, and we are funded by contributions collected for the use of water in the amount of 1 somoni (US $ 0.12) per household per month.”