DEHDADI DISTRICT, Balkh Province – Shiny new pipelines connect the water storage tank to the tanker parked beside the main road of Karmalik village. The tanker provides sufficient drinking water for all the residents of the village. Abdul Ahad, 45, is responsible for making sure every house in the village has access to water. Every day he checks the pipes and turns on the water pump to ensure the water storage tank is filled.
“When the water supply was disrupted, things were very difficult for us. Now, everything is back to normal and all the villagers have access to water,” says Abdul Ahad, a member of the Community Development Council (CDC) in Karmalik village. The village main road was being paved recently, making it easier for locals to transport goods, but the road works ruptured the existing water supply network.
The village’s original water supply network had been developed by the National Solidarity Program (NSP) in 2009. With the supply system collapsing, households could no longer access drinking water through their pipeline system. The villagers could not afford to restore the system using private resources and ended up depending on traditional sources of drinking water. “We used to bring water from wells and streams. This was hard as well as unhygienic because stream water is not very clean,” says Aqela, 50, a resident of Karmalik village.
Aqela points out that not having access to sufficient piped water aggravated hardship as well as health concerns for many in the village, especially the women. To conserve water, people took to washing clothes and dishes in muddy streams. “But now we can wash clothes and dishes at home. Every time we need water, we just turn on the tap in our homes and have access to clean water,” she says, smiling.
The village water supply network was restored by a Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) awarded by NSP. “We are very thankful to the MCG because it has helped us with a basic need—restoring our water supply. We have access to drinking water in our homes now,” says Abdul Ahad.
Work on restoring the water supply network, at a budget of 640,000 afghanis (about $9,600), started in April and was completed in June 2016. Thanks to this quick turnaround, some 700 families in the Karmalik village have access to safe water now, says Dad Mohammad, 52, a village resident.