Kapuri, Juba — Rose Poni just returned from her nearby garden. Although she does not have water at home to clean and prepare her freshly picked vegetables, she worries no more.
She picks up a 20-liter jerrican and carries it a short distance to reach the water collection point behind her home in Kapuri West, Juba County, located in the southern part of South Sudan.
In no time, her jerrican is full.
“Since the water was brought here, it has helped us a lot because we no longer need to look for water,” says the 35-year-old mother of five children.
Poni lives in Kapuri, a relatively new settlement area where a new water yard, which collects and stores water, has been constructed to serve more than 3,000 residents.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan constructed the water system fitted with a 30,000-liter tank and three water collection stations, each of which allows water to flow through six distribution taps. It is powered by hybrid solar panels fitted on the top of a water tower.
Before the water yard was constructed, residents of the area depended on unreliable boreholes and water purchased from truck drivers.
It took hours, and in some cases especially during the dry season, a whole day for Poni to buy water from the water trucks.
“When the boreholes broke down, we waited by the roadside for water tanks to buy from. But now with this water, we are happy.”
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 calls for governments and development partners to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Since 1993, the United Nations marks World Water Day, held on 22 March every year, to raise awareness of the global water crisis. Despite this, access to clean drinking water remains a challenge to many, with at least 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water across the globe.
In South Sudan, only 39 per cent of the population has enough water to meet their household needs, dropping to 34 per cent in rural areas, according to the 2022 South Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview.
To respond to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) needs across the country, in 2021, IOM, through USAID funding, invested in the construction of 93 water sources. Interventions included drilling 59 new boreholes, constructing 8 new medium-sized solarized water yards, and rehabilitating 26 boreholes. In Juba, IOM built 16 new boreholes and 1 medium-sized, solar-powered water yard.
Grace Simon, who lives near the water facility in Kapuri, says it was time-consuming for women and children to wait for hours by the roadside to buy water.
“We have struggled for water in this area, but now water is next to us,” she says as she fills her jerrican from one of the three water stations.
“This water is going to help us a lot, especially during the dry season,” she adds.
IOM WASH Programme Coordinator, Alfonso Cuevas, states that lack of access to clean drinking water remains a serious challenge for people in South Sudan, and in many parts of the world.
He encourages community leaders in Kapuri to ensure the water facility is well maintained to serve them for a long time.
“All users, the authorities and community leaders, it is your responsibility to make sure that the system has a plan for operational maintenance,” says Cuevas. “The water system is not for an individual. All of you in the area will benefit from this water system. If it is for all of you, it is also the responsibility of all of you to take care of it,” he explains.
For Dominic Samuel Tongun, the local chief, residents of Kapuri will worry no more over the lack of water.
“This is not a small achievement,” Tongun says during the handover of the water yard to the community.
“You have saved us from looking for water.”
This project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the WASH Response and Prevention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Program.
For more information, contact Jale Richard, IOM South Sudan Media and Communications Assistant, Email: email@example.com