South Sudan: solar-powered water points in Jonglei benefit thousands
14-06-2012 News Release
Juba (ICRC) – A new solar-powered water supply system will benefit up to 55,000 people in the region of Akobo, Jonglei state, an area affected by community violence in the north-eastern part of South Sudan.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) handed over three water points to the Akobo county authorities today.
"Because of the clashes that have occurred in the region since April 2009, a large number of people have been displaced and found shelter in Akobo town, close to the Ethiopian border," explained Claudio Deola, the ICRC's chief water engineer in the country. "This gave rise to serious water shortages with people having access to less than two litres per day, well below the minimum required standard of 20 litres per day."
Concerned about the long-term impact, the ICRC has worked closely with the local community and the authorities to develop a sustainable solution to the water shortages in the area.
The solar-powered water systems pump approximately 90,000 litres of water every hour, guaranteeing the population a regular and ample supply of water. Backup generators have been provided to ensure production during the rainy season. The facilities are connected to a distribution network of 11 sites that will supply 55,000 people.
"Over the next year, we will continue supporting the authorities by training water technicians and ensuring the installations are properly maintained," Mr Deola said.
"I am very grateful to the ICRC for providing safe water to the people of Akobo county," said Goiy Uljol Yol, Akobo County Commissioner. "The fighting brought displacement and a lack of water, but this project has brought water to us and has greatly contributed to our quality of life."
Tut Makuei, Akobo resident and the town's water systems operator, agrees that the project has made life much easier. "The water points help the community because people no longer need to fetch unsafe water from nearby rivers, which was very tiring and made people sick," he said.
The ICRC works across the country to improve access to safe water for those affected by conflict. In Pariang county, Unity state, the ICRC has repaired 20 hand pumps and one water point this year. In Jamam refugee camp, Upper Nile state, the organization is helping to set up an emergency water supply system.
For further information, please contact:
Ewan Watson, ICRC Juba, tel: +211 912 178 946
Jean-Yves Clémenzo, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17