January 31, 2023

Clean drinking water in the villages

EU financial support and cooperation between CENN and local government authorities have solved the problem of clean drinking water in several Georgian regions.

The village of Dilikauri in the Upper Imereti region was without drinking water for years. Locals used carts, horses and vehicles to bring bottles of drinking water from other villages.

“Especially in the summer, the locals had a lot of difficulties – they didn’t even have a drop of water. They often drove to the town of Zestaponi, 10 km away, to replenish the water supplies.” Shota Gaprindashvili, President of the Union of Chiatura People association, tells us.

He explains that without surface water and springs, it is not easy to obtain drinking water in the village.

Drinking water problem in Dilikauri

Davit Nioradze, head of the Zestaponi Municipality Town Hall administration, says that the water supply system in Dilikauri was installed earlier but was only operational for a few months and then stopped working. A well was dug, rehabilitation started, but due to insufficient resources they had to stop.

“With the help of Shota Gaprindashvili, we started working with CENN. We held a meeting, exchanged information, and decided to solve Dilikauri’s water supply problem together.says Davit Nioradze.

CENN implements the climate project of Georgia with EU support in Imereti in cooperation with the Union of Chiatura People and Shota Gaprindashvili is a CENN regional coordinator.

According to Shota, CENN hired a group of experts to solve the water problem in the village. The members of the climate protection association and even officials from the town hall were involved.

It was determined that due to the lack of surface water, it was only possible to draw water from the underground rivers in Dilikauri. The work began in late spring.

“The drilling process happened to be too difficult. A rock was drilled to a depth of about 160 meters. The systems stopped working several times, but together we did everything and managed to supply the village with water in the summer.” Shota Gaprindashvili says.

About 300 people live in Dilikauri, but since people from the neighboring villages (Rkvia, Sakara, Boslevi, Beglevi) attend Dilikauri school, kindergarten, ambulance and other facilities, more than 500 people use the drinking water.

Ensure water security in the face of climate change

With financial support from the EU, CENN has been overseeing Georgia’s climate program (GEO-CAP) for two years. The project aims to promote civil society participation in the development and implementation of climate protection policy.

The climate program of Georgia is implemented in ten municipalities of the regions of Kakheti, Imereti, Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi in cooperation with the local organizations KRDF, ACU, YPU and RLS-ADA.

One of the main goals of the program is to increase regional resilience to climate change and improve water security.

Therefore, CENN, in cooperation with local government agencies, conducted pilot projects in four Georgian regions to install and repair the water supply systems in the villages.

Water in the villages of Samtisi, Mtispiri and Duisi

The village of Samtisi in the municipality of Oni also struggled with a drinking water problem for years.

Irina Gobejishvili, head of the Economic Department of Oni Town Hall, tells us that several parts of the village were partially supplied with water while others were without water: “We failed to fix the system once and for all. It worked for a while. After that it stopped working and had to be repaired. We faced this problem all the time.”

According to her, locals have repeatedly made appeals to the city hall to resolve this issue.

Through the mediation of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Agro-Tourism Development Association, CENN and Oni City Hall agreed to sanitize the water system in Samtisi as part of the pilot project.

Soso Getsadze, association leader and local project coordinator, tells us that to restore the damaged system it was necessary to install several water collectors so that the water flow could reach the village.

The fruitful cooperation of the project and the local government administration has also solved the problem of water supply in the village of Samtisi, whose population is now supplied with water on a daily basis.

Unlike Dilikauri and Samtisi, the residents of Duisi (Akhmeta Municipality) and Mtispiri (Municipality of Ozurgeti) were also supplied with water, but the process was not smooth and the water was not clean. Severe weather conditions are causing serious problems in both villages.

“The main building to provide us with water is on the banks of the Alazani River. When the water level in the river began to rise after the rain, the main building was flooded. The area was not fenced. As a result, livestock often got into drinking water and contaminated it,” says Vazha Naskidashvili, deputy mayor of Akhmeta.

The main building that supplies water to three villages – Mtispiri, Askana and Mziani – was worn out in the municipality of Ozurgeti:

“The villages were supplied with water but became polluted during the rains. Neither cleaning system was working properly so the waste was stuck in the system. The amount of water was also lost because the main structure was very old and installed incorrectly,” Tamo Oniani, Young Teachers’ Union regional coordinator, tells us.

With EU and CENN support, the main water supply building in Samtisi was renovated and refurbished. In the village of Duisi, a fence was installed around the main building, while the area around the wells was covered with clay to prevent surface water from entering the well.

The regional coordinators of the Georgia climate project report that, with the support of CENN, various projects to solve the water problem in the villages have been carried out in recent years. Local government officials state that they have had a fruitful experience working with NGOs:

“We carry out many social and infrastructural projects with NGOs. We are supported financially and people also see the results. We are grateful,” says Vazha Naskidashvili, Deputy Mayor of Akhmeta.

Ensure water security while fighting climate change

Globally, climate change is one of the most important challenges that the entire world population is feeling.

Shota Gaprindashvili is concerned that climate change is already having serious impacts on water resources and says it is happening faster than predicted 15-20 years ago:

“In our region there was not even a drop of water this summer. So it affected the harvestWe had neither vegetables nor grapes. Some plants withered. The people of Chiatura faced great difficulties.”

One of the goals of sustainable development is overcoming climate change. Sustainable water management is an important step towards climate protection.

“Surface and groundwater are declining more and more due to climate change. If we do nothing, we will face a serious problem,” concludes Shota.

Clean drinking water in the villages

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