The droughts experienced by several departments of the country have put a strain about people in terms of access to drinking water. Especially in the Southeast department where communities are often far away and live in remote mountains. To facilitate access to water in these areas, UNICEF is undertaking a program of source rehabilitation and water abstraction, in cooperation with the National Directorate for Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA). USAID funding has made it possible to undertake these activities in several departments of the country such as: North-West, South-East, South and Grand’Anse.
Jacmel May 31, 2018- The communes of Jacmel, Valley of Jacmel and Bainet are among the beneficiaries, because several drinking water supply systems (SAEP) and pumps with human motricities (PMH) presented an advanced state of degradation. For example, the drinking water supply system of Domingue, in the communal section of Bas Cap Rouge, 1st section of the municipality of Jacmel has benefited from the rehabilitation work. Now, more than 8,500 people have access to safe drinking water.
The TEPAC, agents of the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA), represent the spearhead in monitoring the management of drinking water supply systems (SAEP) in remote communities. Together with the local water committees, they put in place a mechanism, which allows the transparent and efficient management of the systems, linking the population to the water management committees.
A situation that was serious
In Bas-Cap-Rouge, the situation was very difficult because the too low flow of the catchment source could not supply the entire network. People had difficulty getting water. “The locality has faced a serious problem of drought; the source has dried up. The population had no choice but to fetch water from the riverbed, “explains Anel Colin, TEPAC for the commune of Jacmel.
The SAEP faced serious technical problems with the water, the water supply line was cut off, there were several leaks on the distribution line. A lot of water loss was noticed. There were 12 fountains that were not working.
“Before, people used to draw water from the river. Most people who used to bathe in the river, defecated on the ground. This was a public health problem, and people who were drinking water were getting sick, not to mention cholera, “he says.
Fleurant Louissaint, secretary of the Committee for Provision of Drinking Water and Sanitation (CAEPA), explains the vital importance of the network and the changes in the lives of the inhabitants. He remembers the difficult period of drought when the river beds were dry, the trees were dying, the cattle heads were dying, it was really a disaster.
“In the past, people had to walk several miles to find the water, now it is no longer the case. Residents are happy with this improvement, it has improved the living conditions of people. Capture is a worthwhile initiative, “he says, adding that he wants state support for reforestation around the area’s water sources.
Manage the distribution of water
DINEPA, UNICEF, Solidarités International, with funding from USAID, have undertaken work that has practically changed the lives of the population by facilitating access to water. Anel Colin, said to be satisfied at this level because it brings a big change in the community.
He deplores the cutting of the trees that were in the source of the river, which results in a decrease of the source.
To ensure the effective management and maintenance of the system, CAEPA has been formed with community members to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the water service. “The committee in concert with the people are developing a distribution schedule. My role is to collect the grievances of the population and find solutions to the problems, “he recalls.
Ensuring Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 6 states that we must “ensure access for all to water and sanitation and ensure sustainable management of water resources”.
Hamidou Maiga, UNICEF WASH Officer, emphasizes the importance of meeting this SDG. “Our mandate at UNICEF is to protect the lives of children and adolescents. Drinking water means less risk of getting sick. We stand alongside DINEPA in the implementation of public policies regarding access to water and sanitation, “he adds.