THE MAIN REASONS FOR HARGEISA WATER SHORTAGE AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
BY SAAD MOHAMED QAWDHAN
Hargeisa is the capital city of Somaliland and has a rapid growing population. According to the UN (2013), the population of Hargeisa is around 1,000,000. That is six times more than the population of Hargeisa in the 1970s.The principal water infrastructure for the city was built in the 1970s, and is not only aged and dilapidated, but also cannot meet the growing demand for clean, potable water. Furthermore, as the above population figure indicates Hargeisa water infrastructure was designed to accommodate around 150,000 people not 600,000. That said Hargeisa’s limited water availability is a critical shortcoming in essential service delivery, and seriously impedes the right to water access and local economic development (UN,2013).
Clearly, Hargeisa needs six or more water infrastructure in order to meet international minimum standards for urban water consumption and improve the lives of Hargeisa residents. Hargeisa has four main Boroughs (Gaan Libax, Dumbuluq, 26 June and Iftin). Each and every borough needs one water infrastructure similar to the one the city posses now (Ceelka biyaha Shiinaha). The current water infrastructure is not even enough for one of the four main boroughs of the city. This clearly shows that people of the city are in desperate for clean water.
The main question is why it took so long to increase the water capacity of Hargeisa since the 1970s. Is it because the water resources of the city and in the region are far and hard to reach or is it because the government and NGOs have no means and capacity to increase the water infrastructure. Another possible and grave explanation for the failure could be a negligence due to the fact that someone (i.e ministry of water) is not delivering their duties and responsibilities, hence failed to predict and forecast that the population of the city is growing and need more water infrastructure.
WATER AVAILIBITIY IN SOMLAILAND
In Somaliland, water availability is naturally a seasonal issue. Having extremely low rainfall (250 mm per year on average) and much higher potential evaporation (over 2000 mm per year), the country is characterized as water-scarce. Much of the country has arid or semi-arid climate due to the extremely low and variable rainfall, which is often unreliable.
This indicates the need for more rigs in and around of all cities of Somaliland rather than relying solely on the rain. The water-scare is not only limited to Hargeisa but effects the county as whole in similar or greater scale. For example, severe droughts interrupted by devastating floods occur frequently resulting large size starvation and killing thousands of animal. Any sign of drought are received with dread and worry.
Currently, it appears that it is beyond the government’s power to increase the water capacity of Hargeisa and whether this is the government’s lacks resources, corruption or it is simply beyond their means is open to debate and critics are hungry for answers and it is beyond the scope of this report. However, the recent water shortages demonstrations in the Capital (Hargeisa) has further cemented the deep frustration of the residents of Hargeisa in getting clean water. Therefore it is time for the government, NGOs, Public, Diaspora and everybody to get together and find a lasting solution for this deeply ingrained water problems. Then and only then Hargeisa, which is a fast growing city fir both economically and population will meet international minimum standards for urban water consumption and improve the lives of Hargeisa residents.
BY Saad Mohamed Qawdhan