SHEBERGHAN -- Construction of a water supply project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has begun in Faizabad district, Jawzjan province, say officials.
Work began on six water supply schemes on January 12 at a cost of 2.2 million AFN ($25,000).
The project includes the construction of metal and concrete water reservoirs, the digging of deep wells, the installation of solar power systems and water pumps and the creation of a water supply network, according to Assadullah Hamza, the director of the Jawzjan Provincial Rural Rehabilitation and Development Directorate.
"The construction work of the schemes has already started in the district's Qabchaq, Tanga, Omar Khan, Hyderabad, and Bati Kot Uzbekiyeh villages," he told Salaam Times on January 17.
Construction is expected to be completed within the next three months, he added.
The project was financed by the UNDP and implemented by the Rural Rehabilitation Association for Afghanistan in collaboration with his directorate, said Hamza.
"As many as 740 households are expected to have access to clean drinking water upon completion of the project," he added.
"Local villagers used to fetch drinking water from a long distance by donkey. Moreover, they were contracting infectious diseases from consuming contaminated water," he said.
"However, the construction of the water supply network ... will help address their associated problems," he said.
The directorate, with support from relief organisations, plans to launch similar programmes soon to address the lack of clean drinking water in other areas of the province, Hamza said.
Access to potable water
The project comes as the risk of infection of waterborne diseases has increased, especially among children and the elderly, according to residents of Faizabad district.
Villagers have been forced to drink water from streams and rivers because shallow wells have dried up, said Mohammad Zarif Yasini, 41, a resident of the district.
"Unfortunately, access to potable water has been an issue in our villages for many years. We have had no other choice but to drink rainwater and unclean water," he said.
"My children suffer from diarrhoea and constipation almost every day. When I take them to the doctor, the doctor tells me that we were using polluted water," Yasini said.
He said he is very happy that he will have access to clean drinking water in three months.
Residents of Tanga village have to fetch water from a river that is 5km from their home even though they know the water is unclean, Ghulam Murtaza Mohammadi, 32, a Tanga resident, told Salaam Times.
Tanga has lacked access to potable water to several years, he said.
"Now that our problem is being addressed ... we are very happy," he added.
He urged local authorities and residents to be mindful of maintaining the water supply network.
"Access to clean drinking water was a dream of local villagers for many years and it is now becoming a reality," said Salahuddin Ayubi, the governor of Faizabad district.
"Villagers are very happy and deem the project a vital intervention," he said.