(ERGO) – After many years of relying on scarce rainwater, residents of Burtinle town in northern Somalia’s Nugal region are happy to have access to clean piped water.
Water from three wells drilled at a cost of $2million started reaching 7,000 households in Burtinle in October.
Burtinle has suffered water shortages for years and disease related to contaminated water is commonplace.
Omar Husein Farah, who has a family of 12, said they now had access to water that is safe as well as being far cheaper than other sources.
“We are very happy! There is no longer a water shortage in this district now. I used to spend $100 to get water from water tankers,” he told Radio Ergo.
Omar’s family used to spend $13 to $30 buying water from commercial tankers during the dry season. The tankers fill up from wells in Ba’adweyn and Rabable villages, 80 km from the town.
The piped water project was realized by Puntland authorities, in partnership with the UN children’s fund UNICEF, and local firm Mahigan Water Company.
According to Ahmed Abdullahi Abdulle, the manager of Mahigan Water Company, the three wells were drilled by the business community, UNICEF and Puntland State Authority for Water, Energy and Natural Source (PSAWEN).
“Water has always been scarce in Burtinle. The town used to get water from hand-dug shallow wells which are often contaminated and can lead to deadly waterborne diseases,” Ahmed said.
The partners rehabilitated the town’s water tank and laid pipelines, as part of the overhaul to the deteriorating water system.
“The project aimed at ensuring that the people of Burtinle benefit from water sourced from these wells. We started the connection and many families are now receiving piped water. We deliver the service at affordable prices,” Ahmed added.
Abdi NurYussuf, a doctor at Burtinle General Hospital, said waterborne disease outbreaks in the town would become less prevalent with access to clean water. He estimated that the piped water project could lead to a substantial health improvement.