ENJIL DISTRICT, Herat Province – Mohammad washes his daughter’s face with cool, clear water running from the faucet. Sitting happily beside her father, the little girl splashes the water playfully. The sun’s arc has reached the middle of the sky, its rays turning hot. With his large hands, Mohammad pours some water over his daughter’s head, then his own. They both drink from the faucet.
On the other side of the yard, Mohammad’s wife washes the family’s clothes. The family lives in Herat Province, in the west of Afghanistan. It is only recently that Mohammad and his family are enjoying this access to clean, potable water through direct piping to their home from a regular and standard water supply system.
Some 380 families live in Karezak village, around half of whom farm while the other half do manual work or other jobs. The villagers had previously faced many problems stemming from their lack of access to clean water. “People, particularly children, got skin diseases and malaria,” says Mohammad. “We had no clean water to drink and life was difficult for us.”
Before the water supply system was built, the villagers used water from a canal and rivulet, which usually turned muddy in the spring and often contaminated with bacteria and parasites in the summer. Both the canal and rivulet are about a kilometer from the heart of the village, and villagers had to walk the distance there and back daily.
“Most of the women in Karezak village used to wash their dirty dishes and clothes in the canal and rivulet, neither of which were properly clean,” says Fayeqa, a resident. “There was always someone sick in our households.”
To tackle these challenges, the Community Development Council (CDC) of Karezak began working on a sub-project to build a regular water supply system and two culverts in the village in 2013. The sub-project was an initiative under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) which operates nationally under the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD).