Thursday February 2, 2023
(ERGO) – Nearly 50,000 families living in Limay-bari district in Somali Region of Ethiopia are enjoying the benefits of fresh water after the installation of nine water purification stations by the local government.
Locals in Limay were dependent on water from the Shabelle river, which brought many hazards.
Fadumo Ibrahim said her family of 11 now receive clean water piped to their house.
“Our lives have improved. We get the water from dawn till midday. We get clean and nice-looking water. People who have taps get the water easily. Most of the families have pipes bringing clean water, and we all get enough water,” she said.
She used to walk two kilometers to the Shabelle river to get water. They waited for hours for the sediment to sink to the bottom before drinking it.
One of Fadumo’s children has been diagnosed with stones in his left kidney, which is thought to be related to the contamination.
“My son was taken to India for surgery, he is 11 years old. They even told us he has high blood pressure and it was caused by the dirt in the water,” she said.
Her family has so far raised 700,000 ($7,000) birr for his treatment.
The children’s education was also affected as Fadumo and her children trekked to the river early in the morning causing the children to miss their first lessons. They also faced the threat of crocodile attacks, which according to the locals have killed three women.
“First our children no longer have to go late to school because they are fetching water or waiting for the water and the dirt to separate. Also, there are crocodiles attacking the women, children or livestock. Now there are only water pipes in the river and what can they (crocodiles) do to the pipe?” she said.
Muhidin Abdi Maki and his family of 10 have also been struggling with the water issues in Limay-Bari and are pleased with the piped water.
“It’s like you have water but you don’t have water, the river is near us but it’s muddy,” Muhidin told Radio Ergo. “You can understand the health hazards of dirty water.”
He noted that the river water was the cause of frequent diarrhoea among the children. Although his family lived near the river, they sometimes went all day without drinking water.
“When children drank water without boiling it, they would get stomach problems. We would add chlorine to the water and wait for hours for the dirt to settle at the bottom. We wouldn’t go near the water unless it separated no matter how thirsty you were,” he said.
This project is part of a water supply programme managed by the Somali Region water office. The local government spent 60 million birr ($60,000) on the system in Limay-bari in Shabelle zone and plans to expand to other districts facing lack of clean drinking water.
The manager of the project in Limay-bari district, Abdifatah Sharif Mayir, explained the purification process.
“The water we have now and what people were drinking are very different. The water now is clean and has gone through filtering processes. The water is piped from the water, filtered and cleaned, then stored in tanks. We then supply families through pipes and pumps,” he said.
Residents used to have to pay $1.5-2 to get a barrel of clean water whilst now they pay about $0.5 to get clean running water from morning till midday.