In Somalia, only 29 per cent of the population has access to safe water due to inadequate water supply facilities and systems. Children under the age of five bear the brunt of water-borne diseases that result. To address the problem, in Berbera, the existing water system was rehabilitated and expanded. Berbera’s original water supply dates back to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, when this gravity-induced system used the Dubar Spring as its natural source. The project included the cleaning and protection of the town’s Dubar Springs water source and boreholes. The collection wells and main collection chamber for Berbera were repaired to guard against contamination.

The manager of the Water Authority in Berbera, Abderahman Artan, says the old pipes were cracked, and some were completely blocked. “One third of water from Dubar Springs nearly didn’t reach the town, causing scarcity of water” he notes. “But since the replacement of old pipes, water runs smoothly to the town, and I’ve never had to change a pipe.”

The newly rehabilitated water system is managed by a public-private partnership involving the community, the Water Authority and the private sector. The Water Management Board, established specifically for this project, represents the stakeholders and helps monitor and improve the water management system. Fatma Ali is one of the members of the Board. “I am very proud to be part of this project, and I consider it one of the largest and most important ones in this area” she said. “Thanks to clean water, I feel safe to be living in Berbera.”