Community collaboration: Borama Water Project
Borama City, in the west of Somaliland, is just one of Somaliland’s cities where the water supply is straining to meet demand. By 2016, rapid population growth and urbanisation in Boroma meant that the existing water supply system was clearly already unable to keep up, and there was no obvious solution in sight. However, a ray of hope shone upon the city when Afraaga village, just 19km west of Borama, was identified as having good underground water reserves. But there was a catch; water supply and other infrastructure projects require both the land and the goodwill of landowners to be constructed. Boreholes need to be sited somewhere, and pipes may need pass through farms. None the less, Abdishakur Muhumud Aye, who lives in Afraaga, rose to the challenge, and agreed to provide the land for drilling two boreholes. The Ministry of Water Resource Development (MoWRD) and UNICEF collaborated on the drilling.
"When I heard that Borama was facing a water shortage, I did not hesitate and donated this land for drilling water boreholes.”, remembers Abdishakur with a smile.
There was certainly enough water available in Afraaga, there were even two further boreholes, financed by this time by Islamic Relief Worldwide, but the challenge was to bring this supply to Boroma itself. So, in December 2020, with funds from the SDF, MoWRD began to put the last pieces of the puzzle in place; expanding capacity by connecting three of the boreholes in Afraaga to the system through constructing a 19km pipeline to the city.
Abdishakur takes up the story: “We benefited by acquiring a water kiosk for the community and through employment for the men when the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) started connecting these boreholes to the existing Borama water supply system”
The SDF Project also included construction of a modern booster station in Seerarka (a small village between Afraaga and Borama) and installation of two 500,000 litre water tanks at Al-Hayat Hill in the outskirts of Boroma.
Looking back, Mohamud Ali Farah, Seerarka village head, talks about how it all started and the change the expansion project brought to his community “This area was merely a portion of the local grassland. We instantly gave this plot of land when we learned that it was necessary for the expansion of water in Borama and that the MoWRD was looking for a location to build a water booster centre since then we also understood how crucial it is for both Borama and us to have access to water”.
People at Seerarka also got jobs from the project during the construction and an eight-tap water kiosk. After the booster was built and the availability of water in Seerarka improved, many people have moved in and now close to 260 households live there.
The women of the village have noticed a real difference “In the past, every day, the women here used to set off at 6 am to fetch water from a place called Satawo behind those mountains and we used to come back at 2pm in the afternoon carrying contaminated water with limited use. Thanks to SDF for bringing clean water in the village, and very near to my house.” says Nimco Ibrahim Ali.
Now, after over 5 years of planning, preparation and construction, the water expansion project in Borama city has finally come to an end. On 29th August, the Ministry of Water Resource Development successfully tested the system and provided clean drinking water to parts of the town that have been deprived of it for a long time.
Altogether, the scheme can now carry three million litres of water each day serving an extra 90,000 people. This has brought immense relief to Boroma residents who no longer have to rely on expensive water trucks. The success of this project is a result of the collaborative effort with local communities who generously offered their support. The project has not only provided basic amenities but also brought about a positive change in the lives of the locals, which is a great achievement.