A Fight for Water: a crucial matter in Rural Homs

The battle for safety and a prosperous future is not the only battle that Syrians are fighting. The dire humanitarian situation created by years of conflict, have put the water scarcity at the head of the most urgent needs. 

Insufficient and poorly distributed rainfall, severe drought conditions combined with low water levels in the Euphrates River and damaged water infrastructure have not only reduced access to water for drinking and domestic use for millions of Syrians, but also triggered substantial harvest and income losses, an increase in water-borne diseases and malnutrition rates and additional protection risks.

This struggle prevails more evidently in the rural areas. Due to severe damage of infrastructure, water networks are unable to provide full water quantities to the population due to the lack of stable power supply, the high cost of diesel to operate the power generating systems which leads us to mentioning one of the route causes of the water crisis; electricity shortages. 

In communities that are reliant on farming, this problem has magnified impact not only on the accessibility to water resources but on the food security and livelihoods of the local communities. 

As a response to the acute needs, Hope centers focus shifted towards the communities in rural Homs. Many interventions were made in Ozeir, Maskaneh, Al-Hamra villages to provide Micro-finance for farmers and support them with the equipment they need for the farming activities. 

These interventions have opened our eyes to how pressing the needs are for alternative solutions to the water availability, especially in the absence of the public water networks, 70% of which have been dysfunctional for a decade. 

To counter the impact of drought and lack of water supply, the alternative was aiming to provide water for village communities depending on groundwater extracted from well using solar panel systems to power the submersible water pumps needed. So far, three Villages; Al Hamra, Ozeir and Al Maamoura have equipped the main wells in the village with solar panels systems, increased the depth of the wells to reach the water surface levels and provide water all year long for both irrigation and drinking purposes. 

The water deficits, caused by the unusual dry conditions during the rainy season and the abnormally high temperatures has been exacerbating the needs for alternative solutions not only in the country side of Homs but also in Southern Syrian Governorates like Daraa and Sweida, the thing that was discussed in the last Young Christian leaders conference held in Damascus and gathered young representatives from all Syrian regions. 

As the situation of power supply and public water networks remain unsolved the need for water supply alternatives will become a priority and it will be a require all active parties to scale up their interventions to provide this essential Humanitarian right to all communities whether by responding to the acute needs or aiming to increase people’s resilience to water scarcity in Farm-based communities.