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Reference : V-P-AF-E-02376
Date : 21/04/2016
Country/Region : AFGHANISTAN
Caption : Kapisa, Mahmood Raqi district, Sarwar Khail village. A spring catchment system built by the ICRC along a river.
Photographer : MOECKLI, Olivier
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : Mahmood Raqi district in Kapisa is bordering 3 districts with an important presence of armed opposition groups, where frequent fighting is observed: Tagab, Ala Say and Nijrab. The ICRC does not have access to these districts for security reasons. Due to its proximity to this area, Mahmood Raqi has been included among the ICRC priority areas.
Sarwar Khail village is on the main road in Kapisa, which connects Surobi and Tagab (both conflict-affected cities) to Gulbahar in Parwan province, where the ICRC has an office. The village has 288 households/houses, for a total of 2660 inhabitants.
A river and 6 springs run to the village from the nearby mountains, making the village a very fertile area. The village sits at the edge of the very fertile Shomali plain that extends to the south up to Kabul and to the north up to Gulbahar.
Villagers are predominantly involved in agriculture, husbandry and gardening. They cultivate wheat, barley, lentils and beans, as well as a large variety of vegetables. In orchards, they also have trees with apples, almonds, berries, apricots and figs. The village also has some tree plantations to produce wood for construction. In addition, they raise sheep, cows, ducks and chickens.
In 2013, the villagers received some financial support from the provincial authorities to dig and uncover one of the 6 springs in the village. After the work concluded, the water flow was such that a one meter geyser formed at the spring (average flow of 5 liters per second).
Inhabitants used to collect water from this open water flow. It was both unpractical and required long waiting time as people made turns to fill their buckets. In addition, the water that would then flow on the ground to the canal became immediately unsafe for human consumption.
Therefore the villagers requested the Ministry of rural rehabilitation and development (MRD) to build a spring catchment and a system of pipes to deliver the water to various points of the village. Having run out of budget, the Ministry contacted the ICRC for support.
After an assessment that started in early 2015, the ICRC decided to help the community by funding the project (technically called “gravity flow water supply project” or “pipe scheme project”), carrying out the engineering/designing preparation, providing the required material and paying the skilled workers involved.
The project was completed between mid-October and mid-November 2015. It consists of one spring catchment construction with a reservoir and sedimentation scheme at the arrival point of the spring, from which 2 pipes lead to a total of seven stand tabs in different locations inside the village, from which people can collect safe water. The locations of these seven water points were chosen by the community in places with the highest population density.
The excavation to install the pipes was carried out by 100 members of the community. The stone masonry and concrete structure of the spring catchment and the seven stand tabs, as well as the plumbing of the pipe system were carried out by skilled workers paid by the ICRC. The ICRC provided all the material needed for the construction.
Interview of Abdul Azim, head of the local council:
“Before the project was completed, villagers had to walk rather long distances to two different springs at each end of the village to collect water in buckets. They had to use donkeys or carts and it was both a time-consuming and physically challenging task, done by children and elders. People had to wait at each water point due to queues that were forming.
For each household, they had to get water three or four times a day and every turn could take up to one hour. The families who were using donkeys had to feed them so it was also generating expenses.
As it was quicker and easier, many people would get the water from the canal that runs through the village and many people got sick (diarrhoea and dysentery). “One of my children was always sick”, said Abdul Azim. “Since we have the tabs in the village, he never got sick again”.
The main benefits of the project were: diseases related to unsafe water have disappeared; children have more time to go to school, study or work; elders are not forced anymore to the difficult task of carrying water. In addition, many people could spare the money they were spending to feed the donkeys used to carry water. ” Abdul Azim estimated that 40 families had a donkey mainly for water carriage and they all could stop using donkeys.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5833x3889
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour