“This project is to confirm that Government of Somaliland Fulfilled its Promises with People in Sool Region”, Garad Jama Garad Ismail, Chief Traditional Leader of Sool Region said.
By Mohamed Farah(SDF)
The Ministry of Water Resources have launched very significant water development project in the provincial capital of Sool region, Las’anod, on October 29th, 2014. The highly expected project “Las’anod water study and borehole exploration project” is the first phase for the development of Las’anod city water supply system. A project launching ceremony was held, a well organized community symposium, which increased engagement of Las’anod people to be aware water development project of Ministry of Water Resources.
The project, comprising geological and geophysical survey, master plan development and designing water distribution system, as well as drilling boreholes, will benefit more than 200,000 people in Las’anod. The Government-owned fund ”Somaliland Development Fund–(SDF)” is financing the project.
Project launching ceremony was held in Mustaqbal Hotel in Las’anod on Wednesday where was attended and orated by Somaliland’s Minister of Water Resources, Hon. Hussein Ahmed Abdulle, and state Minister for the reconciliation and development of Eastern regions, Hon. Ali Mohamud Ahmed (Ali Sandulle), Sool Region Governor, Mohamed Farah Adem, Deputy Mayor of Las’anod city, Abdirahman Mahir, famous and highly respected social leader, or main traditional chief of Sool region, Garaad Jama Garaad Ismail Duale. Additionally, this colorful ceremony was attended regional police and military commanders and senior army officials, regional coordinator of Ministries, sultans and aqils, sheikhs, businessmen, women and youth, community intellectuals, NGOs, community development workers, politicians, water stakeholders and media groups. Members of Project Management Team and Deputy Team Leader of SDF, Najah Adem, were attended in the event.
Somaliland Minister for Water Resources, Hon. Hussein Ahmed Abdulle spoke at the ceremony, explaining that the project aimed to study water and borehole exploration project in Las Anod.
“There was a huge need for this Las’anod water study and borehole exploration project,” Abdulle said. “Las’anod residents were experiencing increased demand of water as the population was exponentially exploding”.
Water Resources Minister Hussein Ahmed Abdulle said that the project will benefit Las’anod people and will expectedly bring durable solution to the long-persisted water problems, caused by saline land formation and lack of proper water study, in Las’anod city.
Minister Hussein explains that this project is addressing most prioritized needs of Las’anod city which is water. He encouraged Las’anod community to provide their maximum support to the success of the project. The minister also expressed his expectation that the project will have positive end to make access for Las’anod people to drink clean and adequate water.
”We will continue our endeavor to improve water supply system of places like Las’anod”, Minister said. ”In my leadership and advocacy, Ministry of water resources appealed for Las’anod water supply and we convinced SDF and donors to find water for Las’anod”
The main traditional chief of Sool region Garad Jama Garad Ismail spoke at the ceremony as he confirmed that the government of Somaliland carried out one of the development pledges in the region and urged residents to live up their expectations and rally their support behind the government of Somaliland led by President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo.
State Minister for the Reconciliation and Development of Eastern regions, Hon. Ali Mohamud Ahmed (Ali Sandulle) spoke at the ceremony said that the project is earmarked for Sool to have access to safe drinking water.
Mohamed Farah, Project Manager of this SDF-Ministry of Water Resources Project, spoke at the ceremony provided an introduction about the project.
“The project that we are launching today is one of most important water project implemented in Somaliland for two decades as Las’anod is the only city without water out of six main regional cities,” Farah said.
“The project is funded by Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) which is government-owned 4 years fund supporting Somaliland’s National Development Plan (NDP). The SDF has allocated 4.5 USD million to the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) to implement the Water Resources Development project, consist of six sub-projects:
■ Expansion of Berbera urban water supply system (Sahil region)
■ Expansion of Burao urban water supply system (Togdheer region)
■ Water study and borehole testing for Las’anod urban water system (Sool region)
■ Connecting Hadaaftimo water source to the town (Sanaag region)
■ Rehabilitation of water yards in Galgooray (Awdal region)
■ Capacity building programme for the MoWR (at different levels)
In the proceedings of Las’anod project launching ceremony, after good explanation about the project of “Increased access to adequate and affordable water supply for human drinking and other domestic purpose”, Las’anod community members understood project activities and affirmed their commitment to collaborate for project success.
The Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) is jointly funded initially by DFID and DANIDA and Government of Norway with $50 million USD. SDF is recognized as the single vehicle through which donors can support Somaliland’s development goals with the overall four main outputs:
- Improved government capacity to prioritize development objectives and to plan and budget development activities.
- Increased funds and government capacity to deliver of state functions.
- Increased government control of decision-making and the management of funds.
- Enhanced citizen awareness of government priorities, activities and expenditure.
Mohamed Farah Adem, Sool regional governor, who is responsible for government of Somaliland for the Sool regional development spoke in the launching ceremony. The governor said, “project will address the water shortage in the city and will hopefully supply clean water to Las’anod”. He added, “the project is intended to alleviate problems of the water shortage in the city by supplying enough clean water to the residents of the town”.
Finally the governor of Sool region Mohamed Farah Adem while speaking at the ceremony urged city residents to welcome and utilize this important water project which is the first of its kind in the city and the region as a whole.
Las’anod Water Supply Situation; Project Justifications
Laasanod town extends in a basin drained by the stream passing about one kilometresouthwardand is encircled by a low hills crown. The area is located at the southern edge of the NugalValley which constitutes one of the major geographic features of the Northern Somalia,crossing both Somaliland and Puntland. Southward a higher and longer hill ranges dividesthe town plain from another plain gently descending toward Ethiopia.
From a hydrogeological point of view, the Laasanod area is characterized by the absence offresh aquifers, both shallow and deep.The present town’s water need is satisfied mostly through water trucking with watercollected in the traditional structures called berkads, which are lined basins collecting thewater running during rain, or collected by shallow wells, excavated in the togga near thetown, characterized by water of a medium salinity, worsening in the dry season. There isonly one borehole, about 30 km north-eastward at Gambadhe, which gives a small amount ofwater (about 20 m3 per day)of medium salinity.
The chronic scarcity of the water resources is not only the major stress for the urbanpopulation but affects also the pastoral livelihood which still represents the economicbackbone of the country.Themagnitudeof the problem can be easily understood looking at the water price, which ranges from 6.5USD/cum (during the rainy season) up to 25 USD/cum (at the peak of the dry season).
Laasnod is built on a geological unit known as Taleex formation, which is widespread in the whole North-eastern Somalia, constituted mostly by gypsum and anhydrite which give to the water a high salinecontent, which is why previous projects failed to mitigate the water problems of Laasanod:
• In 1995 OXFAM GB supported the rehabilitation/drilling of three production boreholes and installed a small trunk line to the town including the construction of a water reservoir, public kiosks and small distribution network. The water supply system does not function due to very high water salinity (not suitable for human consumption), which corroded the G.I. pipe thus reducing the system technical efficiency.
• In 2006 DRC supported the town water supply by installing five water reverse osmosis treatment plants. The plants were not economically and technically sustainable and were abandoned.
• In 2008-2009 MoWR supported a geophysical survey aiming at finding fresh water. Apparently the drilling company did not succeed to seal the layers of fresh water from the brackish ones; as a consequence the borehole water is not drinkable.
• In 2010 UNICEF through the MoWR funded the drilling of another borehole in Laasanod which was never completed due to the failure of the drilling company.
• In 2012 Caritas Switzerland planned to drill a borehole in Laasanod, but due to the lack of efficient drilling rigs and reliable ground water study, the available resources were diverted to excavate a new earth dam.