Usama Tanveer (CTO) PakVitae selected as a Young Water Fellow for 2017.

Usama Tanveer (CTO) PakVitae selected as a Young Water Fellow for 2017.

Usama Tanveer (CTO) PakVitae selected as a Young Water Fellow for 2017.

Following the call for applications based on the project proposals, by Young Water Solution Belgium, Usama Tanveer was selected as a Young Water Fellow to receive the training, mentorship, support and funding of 5000 euros to implement the clean water access project for 5000 Afghan refugees based in one of the largest refugee settlement in Pakistan. The project carried out was also featured and published on Akvorsr portal for continuous updates, monitoring, and evaluation.  

Background

The Afghan refugee settlement spans across two sectors (H-12 and I-12) in the capital city of Islamabad and it has been home to more than 5000 refugees for almost 25 years now. For water supply, these people initially relied on the municipality pipelines which were also providing water to nearby urban societies of Islamabad. Due to a gradual increase in urban population and recent developments, the government forcefully banned refugees to take water from these pipelines. In addition to this because of the poverty, 90% of the community don’t have access to constant supply electricity due to which it is a challenge to install any electrically operated water filter or to install the electric pumps with the wells or boreholes. Based on the situation and causes the problem can be summarized as:

1. Water Shortage: Due to the mechanical operation of the wells and the boreholes the supply is inadequate to cater to the needs of a community of more than 5000 refugees.

2. Water Quality: Water from the primary sources is highly polluted and is unfit for drinking purposes.

3. No Electricity: No feasibility for any electrically operated water filtration or water supply equipment.

Situation at start of Project

The Afghan refugee settlement spans across two sectors (H-12 and I-12) in the capital city of Islamabad and it has been home to more than 5000 refugees for almost 25 years now. For water supply, these people initially relied on the municipality pipelines which were also providing water to nearby urban societies of Islamabad. Due to a gradual increase in urban population and recent developments, the government forcefully banned refugees to take water from these pipelines. Consequently, now for the supply of water, they primarily rely on three hand-operated wells and a borehole. Due to open defecation and poor hygiene conditions, the underground water table is polluted with fecal contamination and also due to the shallow depth the water from the wells carries a high amount of particulate matter, hence the water from the borehole and wells is tested to be unfit for drinking purposes. Water contaminated with bacteria and pathogens is causing water born illnesses such as Diarrhea, Cholera, Dysentery, and Typhoid and due to the presence of particulate matter cases of kidney stones especially in the children of ages 1-12 have also been reported. The jerrycans and containers used by the refugees to carry water to their homes from the collection point (borehole and wells) are dirty and due to leakages, they are also among the causes for water contamination. In addition to this because of the poverty, 90% of the community don’t have access to constant supply electricity due to which it is a challenge to install any electrically operated water filter or to install the electric pumps with the wells or boreholes. Based on the situation and causes the problem can be summarized as: 1. Water Shortage: Due to the mechanical operation of the wells and the boreholes the supply is inadequate to cater to the needs of a community of more than 5000 refugees. 2. Water Quality: Water from the primary sources is highly polluted and is unfit for drinking purposes. 3. No Electricity: No feasibility for any electrically operated water filtration or water supply equipment.

WOMEN: Women as the mothers hold the key role and are one of the most important stakeholders for the success of this project. Since the majority of the community 54% approx. (UNHCR) consists of females. Mothers from each household will be trained to maintain and use the filters in the right way to ensure the health of their family members especially their children who are more vulnerable to the water born diseases. YOUTH: Children and young boys are responsible for cattle rearing and horses, donkeys, etc. They will be educated to rear the animals away from the boreholes and wells and not to bring them near the water sources. Young men will be educated to take the responsibility to ensure the proper maintenance and usage of the newly constructed boreholes. VULNERABLE GROUPS: Due to the culture of having more children there is always a large number of pregnant women in the settlement who have to face a lot of difficulties due to water-borne diseases and sometimes because of the complications even it ends up in the death of both mother and the child hence making this group the most vulnerable when it comes to the current water challenge. Then come the children of age group (1-12) and then the young men who earn for their families and work as laborers on daily wages and hence lose their daily income because of the water related sickness. The project will ease the burden on all these groups as it will reduce water-borne diseases, therefore increasing school attendance for children and income for the families.

Project Plan

The project seeks to address the three major aspects of the problem statement as defined in the previous section through the following implementation steps:

(1)-Construction of two new-boreholes: The construction of new boreholes (Depth: 90-110 ft) will help to mitigate the problem of water shortage being faced by the refugee community. As compared to the already present water wells the boreholes are although expensive but will solve the following problems:

a) The wells are seasonal but the boreholes are not | Hence a constant and an abundant water supply.

b) The shallow depth of wells make water more prone to fecal and particulate contamination, however, the water from the boreholes is 60% cleaner and contains no particulate matter | Hence more clean water for domestic use and longer life of the portable filters because of lesser maintenance required in case of comparitivley cleaner water.

(2) Dissemination of Portable off-grid water Filters: The filters to be distributed, through their excellent technical attributes will help to solve a number of problems:

a) Totally Off-Grid: The filters work without any power requirement hence cater to the problem of no electricity in the refugee settlement.

b) Efficient & Tested: The filters employ very efficient hollow fiber membrane technology and are tested by “SGS International” to remove 99.9999% of all the bacterial contamination; the major cause of the Diarrheal outbreaks and other waterborne disease in the settlement.

c) Long Life & Cost-effective: Each individual filter has the capacity to filter 400,000 Liters of water. d) High Flowrate: Each individual filter can deliver a flow rate of 1 Liter/minute (55-60 Liter in 1 hr time).

e) Simple maintenance and use: Plug and Play and simple maintenance through a backwashing plunger will help the illiterate refugees to use and maintain the filters over a longer period of time.

(3) Distribution of Clean Jerrycans and Training to use and maintain the filters: During the distribution of the (120) filters and Jerrycans which will be done in 4 phases (30 households at a time) the young boys, girls and mothers from each household will be trained for proper use and maintenance of the filters and they will also be educated to adopt practices to keep the jerrycans clean in order to use them solely for drinking purposes.

a) One Household (One family) = 3 small interconnected mud houses with an avg of 35 to 40 members.

b) 1 Filter with Jerrycan = Delivers 100 Liter/day of clean drinking water sufficient for 40 people based on 2.7 liters per day requirement (WHO  & NAM-national academy of medicine) for an individual.

c) 120*40= Clean drinking water for approximately 4500 to 5000 people for at least 3 to 4 years (based on the 400,000 Liter total filtration capacity). Experiment with test group: In order to validate the feasibility of the filter usage, 5 filters were given to a test group of 5 refugee parents/couples with children and they were trained to use and maintain the filters. Over the period of 2 months, the parents and their children have shown signs of improving health and 95% of the test group survived the monsoon season without a single case of Diarrhea.

Target Group

5000 Afghan refugees living in one of the largest refugee settlement in the capital city if Islamabad Pakistan.

Sustainability

According to the geophysical survey from PCRWR (Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources) survey, the city of Islamabad will not run short of the groundwater at least for the next 6 to 8 years as the city receives a decent amount of rainfall per anum to replenish the groundwater table.
Also, as the borehole is drilled to 100 ft depth with mechanical hand operated pump which is a robust, long-life solution to ensure a constant supply of water to the refugee community. Young refugee men will be educated to take ownership as it will benefit their families and to take the responsibility for the proper maintenance of pumps and report any anomaly in the operation of pumps during the first year of operation of boreholes and pumps.
To ensure the project’s success after its implementation and sustainability of operations the refugees will be trained to use and maintain the filters properly. The filters if maintained, used and sterilized properly in case of any misuse or membrane contamination can deliver the drinking water for the community for a minimum of 3 to 4 years. Also as the improved health will alleviate the economic burden of the refugees and will empower them both financially and health wise they will be able to save enough money for the new filters when the previous ones are consumed to their full capacity.

Goals Overview

  1. Construct two new boreholes by the end of March 2018 to provide an additional water supply to mitigate the water shortage problem of 5000 refugees in the settlement and ensuring that the boreholes are properly maintained for operation over a longer period of time.
  2. Complete the Distribution of 120 Portable Community Filters with Jerrycans to 120 Households (35 to 40 members living in 3 to 4 small connected Mud houses) in 4 phases by the end of June 2018.
  3. During the 4 phases Train the mothers, young boys and girls from each household to properly operate and maintain the filters and to monitor the filter performance to ensure that the training is working so in turn to ensure the long-term filter operation.
2018-12-27T19:30:13+00:00