Equity of Water Supply Helping the Most Vulnerable
Mr. Jaffar Adam lives in Abu Shouk in North Darfur, Sudan. He is responsible for supporting a large extended family. For the past six years, the water pipe near him has not been working, which meant that he had to buy water from water trucks and donkey vendors. This cost 350SDG (approximately $52) per month; a huge expense for the family. In addition, the water was poor quality, with high levels of impurities, because it came from private boreholes which are often poorly maintained. “The water was too salty to drink as it is”, said Mr. Adam.
Under the Urban Water for Darfur project, which is funded by UK aid from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) reinstalled the water distribution system to the pipe near Mr. Adam’s house. Mr. Adam now pays only 40SDG (approximately $6) per month to the government, and is able to fill up the family’s underground water storage container so that they have access to water for the entire week. “My family is now able to maintain hygiene and also we can even offer our share to others who need more.” Mr. Adam showed us the two drinking water pots he set in front of his home so travelers on the road can quench their thirst.
The Urban Water for Darfur (UW4D) project, funded by UK aid from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), has significantly contributed to increased availability and reliability of water sources in the four state capital towns of Darfur: El Fasher (North), Nyala (South), El Geneina (West) and Zalingei (Central). As the second phase of this project, UNOPS, with generous continuous assistance from DFID, is aiming for equity and sustainability of the water supply for the urban and peri-urban areas of El Fasher and Zalingei. The project includes planning, management and maintenance of water supply and service delivery, and expansion of networked water supply to unserved areas.
A total of 7,383 households have benefited from essential maintenance provided under the Urban Water for Darfur project, which allows them weekly access to water in line with other towns in the area. Prior to this support, communities in the area had lost access to water for 3–6 years. This resumption of access to piped water is significant not only for their daily domestic use and hygiene, but also for their economy. In addition, it led to a greater sense of fairness — in the past, the community knew that neighbouring areas had access to water and they didn’t. Re-establishing this access led to the re-building of their relationship with the State Water Corporation.