Learning Together to Value Every Drop

09 Oct 2013

imageUNDP in Uzbekistan


“Clean drinking water ‘came’ to our houses. Now we are confident for the health of our children” – says happily Boboeva Sakhuba – “this is a very important event for all of us. We learn to value every drop as our health and wellbeing depends on clean water.”

It has been more than 30 years since little Boboeva Sakhuba arrived in the Kanal Yoqa village with her parents. Today, she is a mother and growing two daughters. A very important skill that is transmitted in families from woman to woman, tells Sakhuba – “how to use the water so that not to lose a single drop.”

“For many years we carried water to the house from a distance in buckets. We used to seize the water from the well. The depth of the well is only 7-8 meters, so it was not certain to what extent the water is clean and safe to drink. My mother always stilled the water first and then boiled it. Only then the water was allowed to use in the household: to drink, to use in cooking or just to wash.”

The situation in the village remained unchanged for many years. Local elders, led by its leaders, had been discussing the possibility of construction of drinking water supply repeatedly. The result of these discussions was always the same: on our own will not solve this problem.

The UNDP project ‘Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Zarafshan River Basin’ (project IWRM) brought people's dreams to reality, becoming a unifying link between the needs of the people and the system of governance. In order to provide clean drinking water to several villages from 2011 IWRM is involved in UNDP and Coca-Cola company joint program ‘Every Drop Matters’.

The proposed initiative by IWRM project has received financial support in the amount of 74970 USD which in turn served as the basis for a new mini-project ‘Improving the Efficiency of Water Management for the Zarafshan River Basin Population With Clean Drinking Water and Sanitation Services’ by the example of Kanal Yoqa in Pastargam district.

As part of IWRM project the inhabitants of Kanal Yoqa in Pastdargam district and ‘Nurobod’, Samarkand district of Samarkand province could participate in the construction of water supply systems and were able to organise their social initiatives in the form of Water Users Associations. This community initiative designed to regulate on-site water management system and keep it in operational condition which should in turn ensure its productive and long-term service. An important step was the formation of the responsible position of the residents of the project areas formed for the water system, its preservation and appropriate maintenance.

After the successful implementation of the first phase of this mini-project, in 2012 the program ‘Every Drop Matters’ allocates another 74998 USD to support the second phase of the project ‘Improving the Efficiency of Water Management for the Zarafshan River Basin Population with Clean Drinking Water and Sanitation Services’.

Within the second phase, another important step has been taken to increase the capacity of the established rural water users’ communities. Standards of construction of rural water supply systems, developed in the 80s, demanded the revision and updating. To make a valid legal basis for the planning, construction and operation of water supply systems, as well regulate relations at the local level in the area of ​​drinking water supply between service providers and consumers.

“Thanks to the joint efforts and support given by ‘Improving the Efficiency of Water Management for the Zarafshan River Basin Population with Clean Drinking Water and Sanitation Services’ project, we were able to drill a well, equipped it with deep borehole pump, water tower and transformer. Then we agreed it with local district authorities, prepared a water supply network in the villages and let the whole system to run,” says local activist Akhmedov Farkhod. “Before the water reaches the water supply system, it undergoes additional cleaning in a special device. For every 4-5 families a pipe column is attached. On to their homes, the residents themselves will connect the water and install water-controlling devices for water consumption. All this is now our common achievement. There is an initiative group in the village that raises funds for the maintenance of water supply system.”

Having refreshed his face and hands with fresh cool water, he carefully conceals tap water: “now people have confidence in the purity of the water, therefore in the future.”