GSP/Taqadum service delivery specialist meets with Wasit’s Water Director, Mr Abdul Khadum Thamir, to verify the completion of the project

GSP/Taqadum’s staff saw the fruit of its Service Delivery Implementation Plan (SDI) labor  in not just one service delivery area, but in two different areas: water and sanitation in the province of Diwaniyah.

According to a United Nations March 2014 “Water in Iraq Factsheet”, thirty years of conflict and a lack of capital investment have left Iraq’s water infrastructure in shambles. In addition, the negative effects of climate change, years of drought (considered “one of the most serious crises facing Iraq”) and a population both growing and on the run due to ongoing terrorist violence have worked to severely limit the country’s ability to supply water to its citizens. Although a 2012 UNICEF study showed that “91 percent of the population has access to potable water,” it also stated “significant differences among governorates and between urban (98 percent) and rural (77 percent) areas” with 6.2 percent of Iraqis not having access to an “improved water sanitation facility.” This translates into polluted water and “increased the risk of waterborne diseases especially among vulnerable groups such as children and women,” as well as citizens taking matters into their own hands and illegally tapping into local water networks.

Iraq’s population growth, mirrored by its mushrooming economy and increased individual income, and has also contributed to a reported production of “31,000 tons of solid waste every day with per capital waste generation exceeding 1.4 kg per day.” This increase has overtaxed the country’s heavily damaged and outdated waste management infrastructure, leaving people with nowhere to put their trash except in unregulated landfills where “spontaneous fires, groundwater contamination, surface water pollution and large-scale greenhouse gas emissions” are the norm.

This is where GSP/Taqadum’s SDIP work stepped in. Staff assisted in the identification of the following water and sanitation solutions in Diwaniyah: 1) expansion of the water networks servicing the province’s Ghader and Al Shourta neighborhoods; and 2) sanitation relief and land reclamation.

Regarding water supply, the provinces’ Water Directorate implemented the identified solution by expanding the water network servicing the two neighborhoods by 1540 LM (linear meter) of water piping to serve a total of 3350 beneficiaries. Additionally, the directorate made extensive repairs to the main water supply pipe and at the same time was able to eliminate all illegal tapping of the water network in the center of the province. All of this was accomplished at no expense thanks to the Directorate’s use of 4” and 6” plastic PVC piping it had in storage. The implementation of this solution has increased services to citizen.

Addressing trash collection and dumping issues, Diwaniyah’s Municipality Directorate, in accordance with solutions identified during its SDIP process, purchased approximately 710 garbage collection bins and distributed them to citizen homes. While a seemingly small number, given that Diwaniyah is one of the poorest provinces in Iraq, this is quite a large effort on the part of the directorate, which also began work back filling swamps and converting them into green areas. To date, approximately 5000 square meters of land has been covered with grass and date palms and other species of trees have been planted in the center of Diwaniyah, has increasing it green area indicator from 7 to 12 percent.