Where Every Drop Counts

Aleybeday is a uniquely beautiful remote village that lies on the Somaliland-Ethiopia border. The village is semi-arid with a short rainy season, receiving about 650 millimeters of rain per year. It is an area bordered by sandy land which is highly prone to drought conditions in as much as it has a vast land covered with small trees that attract camels from faraway villages.

The people in Aleybeday village were experiencing water problems over a long period. The fact is that water in the area is infrequent, camel herders have to cover long distances to secure water for their families and livestock.

A resident recalls, “We used to go to places as far as Jigjiga and Arabsio across the border to fetch water. The situation was harsh that people had to walk for 50 kilometres or more.”

But luckily in Aleybeday village, there is a borehole which was first constructed by Somali Region Water Development Bureau in 2005. The borehole was poorly constructed and lacked basic materials. It was installed with rusted pipes, water taps were clogged, and the troughs were too short, which would endanger the livestock lives. As a result, the people in the area could not get a regular supply of water for their domestic use and livestock.

“The water pipes could not pump water out easily. Most of its materials needed replacement especially the metallic ones that were largely flawed by rust,” said Abdishakur Ali Aar, HAVOYOCO Project Manager in Ethiopia.

“The borehole had no cover at all, so our concern was that even the little water available was neither clean nor safe for drinking,”

Oxfam in partnership with HAVOYOCO reached out to the people in Aleybeday. The team assessed the degree of water problems and agreed with the local community to finally fix up the well due to its strategic location.

Aleybeday borehole water is one of its kind in the area that provides water to the huge pastoral and agro-pastoral communities that are living around the border areas of Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Kebede Tesema, an Engineer of Molla Taye Construction Company, who is in charge of the restoration of the borehole, explains the considerable process involved.

“The materials you are seeing are brought from distant places. It thus took us about twenty days to renovate the pipes. So far three new water troughs are built for cattle, camels and sheep. Likewise, the rusty old pipes and pumps have been replaced with new modern ones,” he adds.

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

Abdishakur Aar is hopeful about the improved pipelines and believes that it will improve lives for the neighbouring communities.

“We all know that in pastoralists’ communities, the saying that goes ‘Water is life’ really means that if we can conserve even a little drop of water that we have, it goes a long way to securing the future for our families and livestock,” he explains.

Now the hope is high. The borehole provides water to the communities on both sides of the border. The local people are pleased about the modern trenches which will be providing water to over six thousand livestock and eleven thousand households.

“This source of water has revived our dreams. As you can see in the peoples’ faces, they are so relieved that this spring of life will be sustainable and sufficient to supply clean water particularly in the dry seasons,” he concludes.

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