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FEATURE STORY

From Spring to Pipe: Transforming Water Supply in Remote Afghan Villages

June 1, 2015

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Abdul Wahab, monitors the water pipes for leakages and cracks.The water pipes were built in 2006 as part of the National Solidarity Program (NSP), which is currently in its third phase. 

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Story Highlights
  • Households in a remote village in the mountains are able to overcome water shortages and tap the natural springs around them through a unique pipeline system.
  • The pipeline system, which was built for the difficult terrain, was made possible through funding from the National Solidarity Program (NSP), the Government’s flagship program for rural rehabilitation and development.
  • NSP is supported by the World Bank, Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), and Japanese Social Development Fund.

DAROONTA TAPA VILLAGE, Nangarhar Province – Abdul Wahab, 48, comes twice a week to the top of the mountain, where he can take in a full panoramic view of Jalalabad city and its surrounding areas. But Abdul Wahab doesn’t come only for the view. He comes to monitor a network of water pipes for leakage and cracks.

“From this mountain, you can see the Daroonta Tapa village,” Abdul Wahab says, pointing down to the valley. “Through a pipeline project, we can collect water from the mountain spring and run it through pipes to residents of the village.”

Each household of Daroonta Tapa village pays Abdul Wahab 70 Afghanis ($1.20) per month to monitor and maintain the water pipes. The village has more than 400 families, and is located slightly west of Jalalabad city, the capital of Nangarhar Province. Due to its dry climate and elevation—it lies 150 meters above sea level—the village has suffered from water shortages for years.

The water pipes were built in 2006 as part of the National Solidarity Program (NSP), which is currently in its third phase. NSP enhances service delivery and security through empowerment and development activities that communities themselves identify, plan, manage, and monitor. Implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) since 2003, the NSP continues to receive funding from a number of donors, including the World Bank, Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), and Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF).

The Daroonta Tapa project took four months to complete, at a cost of approximately $50,000. Most of this funding came from the MRRD’s NSP budget, but local villagers also contributed nearly $7,000 to the project.

Sayed Maqsoud, 43, an engineer involved in the implementation of the water pipeline project said that it was a difficult project to carry out. “Given the elevation of the area, it was not possible to dig water wells,” he says. “We began to seek other ways, and eventually decided to collect water from the nearby mountain to supply to people’s houses.” 


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Prior to the project, only two households in Daroonta Tapa village had access to water wells, now it is a resource for all the local villagers.

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

" “Now every household has its own water, and we can use as much as we need. We are very thankful to the NSP for solving one of our village’s very long-running problems.” "

Jalad Khan Alaikozai

Head, Community Development Council, Daroonta Tapa village

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Local boys from the village enjoy fresh clean water flowing from the village reservoir. From this reservoir, the water is distributed to every household in the village. 

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Water in every household

Natural springs on the mountain provide a rich source of water for local villagers. Maqsoud and his colleagues discovered these springs eight years ago, and started to work on a mechanism to use them to end the long-standing water challenge Daroonta Tapa residents had faced for years.

“We used water from five water springs for the project,” Maqsoud says. “For each spring, we created a storage area, and then extended a pipe from these areas to a large main reservoir. We then extended this down to the village, where we built a huge reservoir. From this reservoir, we distribute the water to every household in the village.”

Prior to the project, only two households in Daroonta Tapa village had access to water wells. These were the two houses situated at the village’s lowest elevations, and all the other residents came to these wells for water.

Jalad Khan Alaikozai, 50, is the owner of one of these houses and head of the village’s Community Development Council (CDC). “People would line up all day long and even at night to get water from our well,” Jalad Khan recalls. “We weren’t even able to get water for our own use because our well was so crowded. Thankfully, now every household has its own water, and we can use as much as we need. We are very thankful to the NSP for solving one of our village’s very long-running problems.”

The Daroonta Tapa village CDC is one of over 34,000 CDCs NSP has established and is democratically elected through secret ballot and mandated with governance responsibilities. The CDCs are proving to be an effective mechanism nationwide for ensuring equitable development, representing the rights and demands of over 18 million rural community members.

NSP and its 31 Facilitating Partners have worked through the CDCs to identify and implement some 86,000 small-scale reconstruction and development activities in the areas of water supply and sanitation, rural roads, irrigation, power, health, and education, as well as generated over 52 million paid-for-labor days for skilled and unskilled laborers.

 


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