Residents lack access to potable water

ZARANJ/CHAGHCHARAN (PAN): Residents of western Ghor and southwestern Nimroz provinces say they lack access to clean drinking water, asking the authorities to supply them safe water through pipes and deep wells.
Ground water in Nimroz capital, Zaranj, is salty and the Helmand River that passes through the city has dried up.
A pipe extended from neighbouring Iran provides water to 1,000 families in Nimroz while the province’s population is estimated at 300,000 individuals.
Taking advantage of the situation, some people have dug deep wells and sell water on high prices.
A Zaranj resident, Mohammad Iqbal, said “when the Helmand River flows, 120 liters of water is sold for 20 afghanis, but when the flow stops, 20 liters cost the same amount.”
Iqbal, also a government employee, said he paid 100 afghanis to water sellers on a daily basis, spending half of his monthly salary by buying water.
“Water of wells in our houses is salty and bitter tasting. We just use it to clean dishes and clothes and perform ablution. For drinking, we use tanker’s water”, he said, urging the government to take urgent measures at resolving the problem.
Abdul Rahman, who delivers water to his clients in a tanker, said previously he would deliver five tankers to his customers, but now he delivered only one due to the increase in number of private tankers.
Residents say the two-inch water pipe extended from Iran could not meet their demand, suggesting the size should be at least four inches.
Mohiuddin, a resident, said “only 1,000 families are extended water through the pipe water and the rest of water is being used by warlords and foreign organisations.” He said the lack of water has also damaged agricultural corps.
Mohammad Akbar Sharifi, the agriculture department director, said the Helmand River has dried up over the past three months.
He said officials in Helmand have blocked the flow of water towards Jawzjan by saying the province also lacks water.
He added he has shared the issue with agricultural officials in Kabul, but they are yet to take any action.
Nimroz governor Sarwar Subaat said his administration plans to dig deep wells and solve the problem.
Similarly, residents of some districts in western Ghor province also complain about the lack of clean drinking water.
Provincial Natural Disasters Management head Hamidulah Dadfar said the lack of water was a result of the ongoing drought in most parts of the province.
“The problem has been taken up with officials in Kabul and the UNICEF. We have requested for water wells in areas where residents lack access to clean water”, he said.

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