Ahmer bent down to give tea to each person sitting in his home. Serving tea to your guests is common courtesy in this region, but this act was far from ordinary, it was a triumph.
For years, the village of Abu Mariya in Northern Iraq has not experienced access to water for all the families living there. This changed with a project completed by World Vision in coordination with the Directorate of Water in Telafar.
Situated near the city of Telafar in Northern Iraq, Abu Mariya is a village where 100 households struggled with getting adequate water for their needs.
The options for access to water in the last few years have not been sufficient for this agricultural town. They have tried water trucking, which proved too expensive and unreliable as spring rains made it impossible for trucks to reach the village. A borehole provided some water, but without a treatment system it was not good for the health of the families.
Finally, the community tried connecting to a water network, but with an unauthorized tap with only one small pipe, it did not provide enough water. Also, siphoning water from this network proved very costly as tensions between community members rose over lack of water. When the connection was discovered, the supply was cut and at least one community member was forced to serve time in jail for several months.
World Vision learned of the need for access to water in Abu Mariya from the Directorate of Water in Telafar. Through funding from World Vision Canada, the project began to provide all of the families in the village with a steady supply of clean water.
Basic needs restored with life giving water
The community no longer needed to come up with creative solutions to access their basic need of water. “All of the families now have water,” shared Ali, a community member in Abu Mariya. Ali was the one who served time in jail trying to provide water for his family and neighbors.
“Water is life,” stated Ali. And in a simple phrase, he captured the powerful impact of the project. As tea was passed around in the house and Ahmer’s children drank clean water, there was laughter and Ali smiled and said “Life is sweeter.”
A simple intervention like building a pipeline connection to a clean water source has a life-giving impact for these families who not only rely on it for their lives, but for their livelihoods. Having clean water was not a guarantee for the community for years and brought with it many struggles, but now Ali shares that he and his neighbors know that they not only have water, but “the water is clear and clean” and will not cause them to get sick.
The community of Abu Mariya can move forward, investing their hard earned money on food and school for their children. They no longer need to live in concern for their health from diseases carried in contaminated water. Life has been restored in this village with a basic necessity that many take for granted.
As families who were displaced during the conflict with ISIL in Iraq return to their homes, World Vision is working to assist them in re-establishing their lives and in building strong and peaceful communities. The impact of access to clean water reaches far beyond what is first seen as a basic necessity for life. It helps to ease stress, reduce the burden of expenses, and eliminate unnecessary tensions, both between members of the community from lack of water and between neighboring communities by eliminating the siphoning of other water outlets.