Tap Water Is an Elixir for Villagers in Takijistan

Water Pours out Hope for a Better Future
Mohsafar Nurova
New water system saves residents time and money, improves nutrition
“I never thought of the fact that just an improved access to water can have such effect on the life of people.”

March 2016—A new water supply system is demonstrating the meaning of the local saying “water is life” for residents of a village in rural Tajikistan.

Mohsafar Nurova, 18, is the oldest of seven children in the village of Khojaabdolon in Norak district. Her parents divorced two years ago, soon after her father’s migration to the Russian Federation. With no support from their father, the family’s life was difficult. To support the family, her mother found a job in a canteen seven kilometers from the village, making barely $1-$2 (5-10 Somoni) a day.

Since her mother works, Nurova is in charge of household chores and the care of her little sisters and brothers, four of whom are school age and the other two under age 6.

“All my conscious life is associated with household errands, especially water delivery,” she says.

Nurova used to spend most of her day carrying water manually and with donkeys. Four to five times a day, she had to travel to the village center located a kilometer away and carry 300-400 liters of water back to her home.

In August 2015, USAID, under its Local Governance Project in Tajikistan, opened a new drinking water system in Khojaabdolon. The project built a catchment basin near a local spring, laid 7,200 meters of pipe from the spring to the village, fenced the water intake facility in accordance with environmental safety requirements, built a 11,600 meter-long distribution system including 12 water distribution chambers and a chlorination device, and installed individual spigots to bring water to 63 households.

The new system provides 540 rural residents better access to drinking water. And because the volume of water exceeds the community’s need for drinking water, villagers can now garden and grow vegetables on their land plots.

To ensure sustainable operation and management of the water supply system, USAID helped the village council establish a communal utility service enterprise. The enterprise is responsible for the facility’s maintenance and operation, fee collection, and educating the community about water conservation.

As water now runs from the tap, Nurova, who recently finished secondary school, can provide better care for her sisters and brothers since she no longer needs to spend hours a day getting water for her family.

“I never thought of the fact that just an improved access to water can have such effect on the life of people,” says Nurova.

Now that water is easily accessible, Nurova plans to cultivate vegetables and plant fruit trees on the family’s 0.18 hectare plot of land, which has never been cultivated due to lack of water and the dry climate. This plot can give the family access to otherwise expensive vegetables and fruits, save money that would be spent at the market, improve the family’s diet with diverse food, and potentially provide income from the sale of excess produce.

The five-year Local Governance Project in Tajikistan, which launched in 2012, is designed to help the country implement the Law on Local Self-Governance in Towns and Townships. The project partners with 20 jamoats (communes) in 10 districts across all four regions of Tajikistan to improve local governments’ delivery of services to citizens, particularly, clean drinking water. To date, the project has helped about 26,000 rural residents gain access to improved drinking water.

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