Clean water quenches thirst in FATA

UNDP constructed a gravity-fed scheme with a network of pipelines and water tanks to bring clean water from the spring to residents in the Landikotal district of FATA. Photo: UNDP in Pakistan/Rahat Shinwari

By Rahat Shinwari, Behaviour Change and Communication Officer

The Khyber Agency, in the north of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), has suffered from numerous problems for decades. Not least of these is the fact that many residents lack access to clean drinking water as a result of a prolonged energy crisis and the scarcity of surface water throughout the region.

Highlights

  • • The project in FATA installed 56 solar and 7 gravity-based water supply schemes.
  • • 717 residents of Mullagori, Jamrud and Landikotal districts now have access to clean water through a gravity-based water supply.
  • • The gravity-based system at Mujahid Kalay, Landikotal cost PK Rs. 1.943 million to install.

Visiting the area, I found the same problem all over Landikotal, Jamrud and Mullagori Tehsils. Communities demanded potable water, marking it as their first priority.

It is important to note that the responsibility for collecting water falls to the women of each household. They carry water from open wells and existing springs, often located far from their homes. Carrying water on their heads from distant areas can cause health problems for women, including spinal and muscular conditions, and it takes up a significant amount of the day.

The Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas project (RAHA) in FATA, with financial support from the Government of Japan and the FATA Secretariat, has installed 56 solar and 7 gravity-based water supply schemes in the Mullagori, Jamrud and Landikotal districts of Khyber Agency.

Qari Mujahid Ahmad, president of Mujahid Kalay village in Landikotal, observed “We had a spring with plenty of water near a hill in our village for 60 years. Local women carried water from the source and also by a pipeline, but there were still two problems for the community: a great deal of water was wasted, and the water source was not protected. RAHA constructed a gravity scheme with a network of pipelines and water tanks, giving everyone access to clean water. It’s unbelievable that the RAHA project did this so smoothly, and we couldn’t in 60 long years.”

Tackling this issue also reduced tensions in the communities. The solar and gravity-based water supply schemes are bringing happiness to the region and potable drinking water to inhabitants’ doorsteps.

I am honoured that RAHA FATA provided me with an opportunity to serve these deserving communities in remote areas, particularly the women and children. I am very happy and proud of my efforts to help the poor and vulnerable people of FATA gain access to potable drinking water without spending a penny.

LINKS:

Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas Programme

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