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Solar-Powered Pumping System Brings Clean Water to Community in Yemen
Published 03/28/2022 by Global Communities
Yemen’s ongoing conflict had pushed the community of Al-Mahfad to undertake extreme measures to deal with water shortage. Residents were given access to water only once every four days, and water pumps were limited to operating only six hours per day.
Not surprisingly, the burden of collecting water fell on women and children.
“I used to carry water in buckets on my head or load them onto a donkey,” said Alam Saleh, a community member who now participates in Yemen Communities Stronger Together (YCST), a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Yemen is experiencing one of the world’s water crises, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs have significantly increased due to destruction of infrastructure, large-scale displacements, water mismanagement and impacts of climate change. Recognizing these complex factors require a nuanced response, YCST implemented the Al-Mahfad Water Supply Enhancement Project.
Launched in 2018, Yemen Communities Stronger Together (YCST) is being implemented by Global Communities in partnership with the Field Medical Foundation, Build Up and Partners for Good. Among the objectives of YCST is to help communities work together on initiatives that decrease conflicts and promote peace. This includes fixing broken water or electricity systems, repairing damaged schools or hospitals and improving community spaces, among other projects. Improving access to basic social services enhances stability by reducing the prevalence of social unrest.
Through this project, a community enhancement committee was set up to discuss and identify factors causing the water shortage (e.g. water distribution problems, expensive water fees, maintenance service issues for water facilities and high fuel costs to power water pumps).
Several solutions were funded by USAID after these discussions. A solar-powered submersible and energy efficient water pumping system was installed with the capacity to produce 28,000 watts of electricity. The main stone reservoir was rehabilitated and damaged pipelines were repaired or replaced with new pipelines.
As a result of these improvements, water flowing through the system increased significantly — from 7 liters to 22 liters per second — and residents began receiving about 100 liters of water every day. As well, monthly water fees fell sharply, from approximately $28 to $2 per month. Now, clean and affordable water is flowing to a total of 8,400 people in Al-Mahfad.
“Now that water is available, we can finally provide an income and work for our families,” said Alam Saleh, noting how women in the community no longer have to spend multiple hours a day in unsafe situations retrieving water.
The Al-Mahfad Water Supply Enhancement Project is one of 14 projects YCST completed during its third year of operation, reaching a total of 288,514 people in Yemen.
Global Communities has been working in Yemen since 2004, providing emergency support for food security and livelihoods restoration as well as rebuilding critical community infrastructure. Our programs have also focused on improving learning environments, addressing widespread malnutrition and disease, and increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org.
This success story is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Global Communities and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.