Somaliland:Life is Water and Water is life!

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SomalilandPress-22nd March is the annual World Water Day which focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.  Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. This year’s international theme highlights the issue of “Water and Energy”. The Main objective is to draw attention to this topic and to show the close linkages between these two basic needs. 

In Somaliland water is in extremely scarce.  Only 43%[1] of the population have access to improved water sources. The lack of water is a major concern for both urban and rural populations.  For livestock, water is essential and the population is reliant on rain-fed dams, balleys and water pans.

Responding to the water shortage in Somaliland, the Minster of Water Resources with help from its partners wish to promote “Rain Water Harvesting” for World Water Day. This theme will raise awareness and promote actions at the local level. During the World Water Day, Somaliland Government, EU officials (The largest water sector donor in Somaliland), UN agencies and International NGOs will promote the importance of “Rain Water Harvesting”.  It will generate local interest among Somaliland people and both urban and rural communities will be targeted. In addition, the link between rainwater and “Water & Energy” will be made by promoting rainwater harvesting as a low-cost, readily available and energy-saving method of water collection, which does not require any external energy inputs, unlike most other forms of water supply which require motorized pumping, road transport, human resources, etc.

Every person has the right to have access to safe drinking water. Access to clean water is the key to finding a quality life free from water-borne diseases.  Good health starts with having access to clean water. In developing countries, almost 80% of diseases are caused by poor water hygiene. One in every five child deaths is attributed to water-related diseases. Especially, children are more vulnerable to diseases transmitted through diseases.

European Union has made their commitment to reduce the burden of water scarcity in Somaliland and is funding significant water programmes in Somaliland the moment. The EU is the largest water sector donor in Somaliland. The goal of EU-funded water programmes is to improve the quality and quantity of fresh water available to Somaliland people and its future generations. These Water programmes are being implemented by a different partners such UN-Habitat, UNICEF, Caritas and Terresolidali. The EU is committed to Somaliland development and growth.

Among these projects, Hargiesa Urban Water Supply Upgrading Project- HUWSUP- is the largest European Union funded water programme in Somaliland and is implemented by UN-Habitat in partnership with Hargeisa Water Agency (HWA) and the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR).

The principal water infrastructure for Hargeisa was constructed in the 1970s to supply what was then a city of 180,000 inhabitants. Following rapid urbanisation and resettlement, the estimated population of the city is now over 750,000 people, while the daily supply from the existing water system is just 9 million litres – the same as it was in 1988, with only about a quarter of the current population.

 

 

 

The chronic lack of water is only half the story. The twenty-five- to forty-year-old pumping mains between Geed Deeble and Hargeisa are heavily deteriorated and regularly burst, leaving the city without piped water. Throughout the year, Hargeisa Water Agency carries out continuous maintenance of the old pipeline that brings water to the growing city of Hargeisa. 

 

 

On 6 December 2012, UN-Habitat, in partnership with the Hargeisa Water Agency and the Ministry of Water Resources, began the implementation of the HUWSUP.

The objectives of the project are simple and straightforward: to increase the amount of water to Hargeisa from nearby wellfields, and to ensure that the supply system is secure and sustainable. To achieve this, UN-HABITAT engages the services of professional engineering consultants and contractors, respectively to design and then construct a new upgraded water supply system.

The upgraded system also has the potential to further increase the water supply: connecting additional wellfields (Hora Haadley and Laas Durre) in the future could supply Hargeisa with as much as 20 million litres a day.  A significant number of additional households will benefit from improved direct access to the Hargeisa municipal water system. HUWSUP will also contribute to enhanced livelihood opportunities through income generation and job creation.

Overall, HUWSUP is the first step towards a safe and secure water system for the city by laying the foundations for improved and sustainable water infrastructure for the entire city of Hargeisa. In combination with EU and other donor-funded projects, as well as work undertaken by the Hargeisa Water Agency and the Ministry of Water Resources, the entire population of Hargeisa will benefit from an urban water system built for the future.

Large-scale urban infrastructure developments of this kind require appropriate funding, planning and time to implement. Rather, the present system upgrade provided by HUWSUP is laying the foundation of an adequate and sustainable water supply system for the Somaliland capital, which will be able to satisfy both present and future demands.

In order to get a more equitable distribution of the extra water available in 2016, HUWSUP and HWA are actively working together designing a series of dedicated trunk mains starting with a main to Ahmed Dhagah and a service reservoir. From here, the trunk main can continue to Mohamoud Haybe. HUWSUP will continue to provide technical assistance to HWA for the expansion of the urban network.

 

Now the design has been completed, the tenders being advertised worldwide to attract the right contractors who can build the new pipeline and pumping station.  Construction works are expected to begin by mid 2014. HUWSUP will achieve the first milestone towards future clean water of Hargeisa resident by December 2015.



[1] Somaliland Household Survey. World Bank, 2013.

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