(ERGO) – Residents in Elhur, 70 km north of Harardher city in Mudug region, are waiting for a solution to their water woes.
Dahabo Hassan Mohamud, a mother of 12, told Radio Ergo that profit margins at her tea shop have fallen due to the high cost of water, since the road to their usual well became blocked by sand.
“I have to buy a barrel or a barrel and a half a day, spending up to $7, which means some days I don’t make any profit at all,” she said. “I have been selling tea for 15 years, and I only make about $4 a day, which barely caters for our needs.”
“It’s the only business I know and I don’t have alternatives, so during tough times like this, I have no choice but to live on credit,” Dahabo said.
The trucks that normally ferry water cheaply from the nearest well 18 km from town are unable to make the journey due to the blocked road.
The well manager, Abdulqadir Mohamud Hussein, told Radio Ergo they had been planning to pipe water to the town but the survey was interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The project engineer could not come here due to the Coronavirus travel restrictions,” he said. “I hope the survey will resume soon and afterwards the piping can begin.”
For now, merchants bring water on donkey carts from hand-dug wells three kilometres away, but the prices are more than most residents can afford.
Mahad Abdullahi Ahmed, a resident, told Radio Ergo that he has resorted to carrying water on his back about three times a week.
“I fill up my jerrycans and I carry them myself for the family. I bring about three jerrycans each time and the family uses this in a day or two,” he said.
Abdiqadir Mohamed Awale, a local elder, said people are digging wells by hand but the water is not reliable because of the proximity to the sea.
“The water merchants call on their friends to help them dig new wells, then the water turns saline after extracting just a few barrels of water, so they have to dig another one,” he said. “This is not sustainable, it’s just a stop-gap measure.”