Iraq: Water channels repaired in Sulaymaniyah
12-09-2002 News Release 02/37
Sulaymaniyah is the second largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan. Like the rest of Iraq, the 300-year-old city has been affected by several years of drought and its 520,000 inhabitants suffer from a constant shortage of drinking water.
For many centuries water in this region has been supplied by means of karezes, traditional networks of underground channels that ensure the flow of water by gravity to its final destination.
The introduction of modern centralized energy-dependent pumping systems has led to the neglect of the karezes, which, if well maintained, represent an energy-free alternative for alleviating water shortages.
In March 2001, in cooperation with the local authorities, the ICRC proceeded to rehabilitate the six karezes most in need of repair, constructing three ground storage tanks of reinforced concrete, cleaning 2,050 metres of underground channels, excavating 440 metres of new channels, digging more than 20 inspection wells and building 28 new manholes for the gate valves. Work was completed on 7 August 2002.
The aim of the project was to provide an adequate supply of clean drinking water for the poorest districts of the city, whose 15,000 residents include many internally displaced persons.