October 16, 2012 ·21 Comments
HARGEISA — Despite recent heavy rains, Hargeisa is currently experiencing severe water shortages and residents are getting fed up with the current administration.
Home to over a million, Hargeisa is the capital and the largest city in Somaliland, one of the most impoverished and unrecognized countries in the world. Due to rapid population growth, lack of upgrade to 1940 water systems and more water being consumed than produced many families are going without getting access to water for weeks.
Experts predict if the current demand for water is not solved, Hargeisa could become an empty ghost town within the next two decades. The current administration announced the construction of 12 wells more than 8 months ago but until now not a single new source of water has been inaugurated. Hussein Abdi Dualeh, Somaliland’s Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources, told local media in February that the EU pledged a fund of $27.5m for water projects in Hargeisa, Burao, Erigavo and Wajale. Until now not a single well has been drilled and frustration is growing.
The latest shortages of water has hit the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Nour, Daruraha, Ga’an Libah, Qudheh Dheer and inner city suburbs including Almis, just few kilometers outside the city center.
The reoccurring crisis, which are not entirely only mentioned area, are feared could cause unseen social and political unrest unless a solution is urgently implemented. At least 45% of Hargeisa’s 1.2 million population have no access to water at all.
Many families, mainly women and children fetch water in the dark of night from the nearest water source once or even twice a week using plastic canisters and wheelbarrows. This form of securing some supply is slowly rising tensions in the city and its surrounding regions. They equally use donkeys and tankers.
It is not clear as to why the water table in the city has dropped far beyond sustainable levels following recent heavy rains but locals fear wells are drying up. They fear it might force them to abandon the city in the next twenty years unless the government and the international community act fast.
Residents claim the current administration of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud are not doing enough nor taking the matter serious enough.
The business community and small industries are equally worried with the reoccurring water crisis which they say continues to interrupt their businesses. They say it is almost impossible to do business in Hargeisa with the lack of water and infrastructure.