Drinking Water Crucial For Rebuilding After Conflict

By Leon Louw

Access to drinking water in South Sudan is crucial for peacebuilding and dealing with community disputes that could undermine the country’s emergence from conflict and crisis.

For the people of Juba in South Sudan, an African Development Bank Group (AfDB) supported water project brings better health – and peace. Access to drinking water in South Sudan is a crucial issue for peacebuilding and dealing with community disputes that could undermine the country’s emergence from conflict and crisis.

With funding of almost USD7.22-million from the African Development Bank, the Resilient Water Project for Improved Livelihoods in Juba (https://bit.ly/3q9YLQ2), will help to release school-age girls in South Sudan from a daily chore that could take between four to eight hours a day. The water project when completed will help to boost primary school enrolment in the capital city from 89% to 95%.
Another vital impact has been on health. Among Juba’s 372 000 people, only a quarter has regular access to clean drinking water and the city faces annual cholera outbreaks. The water initiative has helped to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by water-borne diseases.

By providing potable water to almost 230 000 people in disadvantaged areas of Juba, including Hai Gabat, MTC, Konyo, Kasaba, Lologo, Atlabara, Muniki and parts of Gudele, the project has eradicated acute diarrhoea and Guinea-worm disease, the result of consuming water drawn directly from the Nile.

Measures to make access to water easier and to make the project financially viable, includes four new filling stations that enables people to get water from tankers easier, the installation of 1000 individual water meters, 30 neighbourhood drinking fountains, and four community meters.

The introduction of water meters is to change payment of residents’ bills on the basis of derisory fixed rates, which are too low to ensure the financial viability of the project and to enable it to provide high-quality services.

Seeing that the sale and distribution of water from tankers is mainly a male preserve, the project aims to have at least 20% women and 10% young people supplying drinking water from kiosks. Women also represent 30% of the 400 customers trained in detecting leaks in the water network.

Access to drinking water in South Sudan is a crucial issue for peacebuilding and dealing with community disputes that could undermine the country’s emergence from conflict and crisis.

Funding for supplying water to the city of Juba is aligned with one of the Bank’s vision for Africa’s economic transformation, dubbed the High 5’s, in particular to Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa (https://bit.ly/3qd4QeC).

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